Monday, January 14, 2019

When Running is a Spectator Sport!

Running in a race is truly the icing on the cake. I love challenging myself with time or distance seeing just what this body can do. I ran 3 consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons in as many years. I pushed my body to its absolute limit by taking on the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon.

I am over joyed that I gave my training and race day everything that was within me mind, body and soul.

I had planned to take a hiatus from the half marathon distance after the 2017 Bermuda Half. It was a very challenging race day for me that required the support of Tom and Jamie-Lee Wright, my earth angel at mile 12 to get me to the finish line after my body cramped up at mile 10.

I couldn't refuse an invitational entry from Anthony Raynor, Race Director for Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

I knew that this year I would definitely take a hiatus from running in Bermuda this year and cheer on Tom.

Until Saturday, it was questionable whether or not Tom would be able to run. As a result of a serious knee injury in September, we changed his registration to the 10K but we still weren't sure if he would be able to run.

He is now race ready and I am spectator ready!

Why am I so excited to spectate rather than run in Bermuda this year?

It is easy to get nostalgic when I see my FB memories running through the beautiful Island and being cheered on by the locals but I know that running a half marathon does not serve me right now and those hills in Bermuda in the 10K would not make for an enjoyable race.

There's a thrill for me in watching runners cross the starting line and come into the finish with fist pumps and high-fives. And there's more...

"How Cheering on Others Makes You A Better Runner" cites the benefits of being a spectator.

The reason why is something psychologists call “self-efficacy by vicarious experiences,” a fancy way of saying that you’re more likely to believe you can accomplish something when you see other people getting it done. “You think, If they can do it, I can do it, too,” says Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., professor of sports psychology at Minnesota State University in Mankato and author of Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to Gain the High-Performance Edge.

Studies have been done and cited in books by Dr. David Hamilton, Dr. Joe Dispenza, and many others that the body can't distinguish between what it is imagining and what is happening in 'reality.' Watching runners, especially those that run at a faster pace than me, fires up my imagination and my mind/body connection to become a faster runner myself through the power of mirror neurons. Simply put, by watching someone running, I inspire my own body to become a better runner.

When I first set out to heal my life after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006, I fired up my imagination through writing poetry allowing my pen to be my divining rod for healing. The first poem I wrote was called, "Running the Race." I had never run a day in my life and was using a toe up leg brace and cane for mobility. I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and used a wheelchair at times for mobility.

When I fired up the power of my imagination, I watched the "Run Forrest Run" scene from Forrest Gump over and over and over again imagining myself breaking free of my leg brace, running unencumbered and free!

Last year I celebrated ten years of running having healed the ravages of paralytic polio and trauma.

This Friday, I'll be watching runners in The Front Street Mile while we dine at The Pickled Onion having a front row seat to all the festivities.

On Saturday we get up early and catch the shuttle to Bermuda National Stadium where the Bermuda Marathon Weekend 10K starts and finishes. I'm bringing our cowbell from Boston. We will meet up with many of our Island friends, friends from other cities that we have connected with through Bermuda Race Weekend and our runner friends from Massachusetts. I'm so excited to cheer them on and soak up the energy of race day.

Team McManus plans to get back on the racing circuit this year both as a team and for Tom to be able to run his own races at his own pace.

I will be fired up and inspired as I cheer on the runners in Bermuda next weekend gearing up for my own 2019 adventures. However, sometimes, running is a spectator sport!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

My healing journey using the power of visualization is featured in David R. Hamilton's book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body-Anniversary Edition." It's available on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

***Coming Soon - The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953***

“The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” takes you on Mary McManus’ healing odyssey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond. After the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December 2006, Mary got still and asked for Divine Guidance tapping into the powerful connection she experienced to the Divine from an early age. She harnessed the power of her mind to heal her body, feverishly writing poetry in which she imagined herself healthy, whole and free from the shackles of her youth. Mary’s quest to heal her life led her to the sport of running. Her story is one that will leave you cheering for the underdog, discovering the meaning of different ability and experiencing the stunning view from the back of the pack of a race. You will have the privilege of bearing witness to how Mary overcame every challenge that life presented to her. The sport of running provides the backdrop for her journey of transformation from a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma at the hands of family members to a woman who embodies faith, grace under fire, courage, determination, endurance and resilience. Running became a way of life for Mary that tested her mettle while forging friendships to last a lifetime. As you’ll discover in “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” nothing, not even a serious knee injury in December of 2014 could stop her on the roads or in her life.

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