Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Synchronicity at the Starting Line - Part 2

I was almost a DNS (did not start) for the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon. I had a muscle strain in my right hip that had been nagging me throughout training. I began taper time early and hoped that the rest would do me more good than more training.

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning of race day feeling nauseous with both arms bathed in sweat. I didn't know if I had experienced a trauma dream or if I was physically sick but I harnessed the power of my mind/body connection in a deep meditation and mercifully fell back to sleep. I knew that nobody in my village would have criticized me if I had been a DNS. They knew it was a rough training cycle; training for my 3rd half marathon in Bermuda in as many years. I had already demonstrated what is possible by healing a serious knee injury without surgery.

I went from using a leg brace and a cane and at times a wheelchair for mobility and had been told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease to cross the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon.

We always take time for meditation after the alarm goes off. During my meditation I wrestled with my fears about race day. The Race Director, Anthony Raynor, reassured me that there was absolutely no time pressure for me to finish. He said to me on several occasions, "As long as you finish before my last marathoner, you'll be fine!"

I was well trained and I knew the course. I had to shake off the memories of what happened to me during the 2017 Half Marathon when I cramped up and was almost a DNF ending up in the medical tent but I did finish the race!

We learned from the mistakes we made during 2017 and were not going to let that happen again.

Before I put my feet on the floor, I pumped myself up to have a most memorable race day reminding myself that this would, in all likelihood, be my last endurance race given the toll the training took on my body.

Room service was amazing! From "The Adventures of Runenrgirl 1953":
"Good morning. Good morning...Are we ready to run?"

The knock on the door came promptly at 5:30 and Narayan came in carrying a tray with everything we requested for our traditional pre-race breakfast. Tom had his piping hot coffee. We had whole wheat toast, chilled orange juice and hot water and bowls for oatmeal. We added in the bananas, nuts and granola we purchased at Miles Market.

While he organized our breakfast serving it in grand style, he said, “I am so excited for you all. I was once at base camp at Mt. Everest as support crew for a group climbing Everest. I love seeing people do epic things! Is there anything else you need?”

“No we are all set. And thank you so much!” I said.

“Of course. Have a great race day!”

I ate mindfully while letting the butterflies in my stomach just be. After breakfast, with tears in my eyes, I said a prayer for the day. I gave thanks for the blessings that brought us to that moment and asked the Divine to bless us on our 13.1 miles through Bermuda. It was intensely emotional to realize how far I’d come to be poised and ready to toe the starting line of Bermuda Half Marathon 2018 - my third in as many years.

We headed to the lobby where runners were excited to get the shuttle to the starting line. We drove through winding roads in the darkness anticipating daybreak.

When we arrived in Hamilton I saw Susan, an integral part of Bermuda Marathon Weekend along with Anthony’s cousin, Jo-Ell who we met in Boston on that fateful day when Anthony offered me an invitational entry. I told Susan I had serious pre-race jitters. She took my hand and told me that it's race day excitement. It happened to her before every race.

“Why don’t you use the bathrooms inside the Ferry Terminal? They’re a lot better than the porta potties and then go breathe, stretch and relax. It’s going to be a great day for you!”

After saying goodbye to Denise and Lanette, we headed to the back of the pack at the starting line.

“Hey are you Joe Middlemiss?” I asked a tall runner wearing a Team Big Heart shirt.

“No Joey passed away and…”

“Oh I’m so sorry of course. I’m not thinking clearly. I meant to ask if you were Scott but obviously you’re someone else.”

“Hi I’m Linda and this is my husband Brad. How do you know about Team Big Heart?”

My breath caught...Here we were in Bermuda standing next to runners representing The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation from Massachusetts!

We shared with them how we learned about Team Big Heart and The Foundation at the 2016 Runners World Classic when we volunteered for the Celebrity Mile. Linda and Brad were running the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge representing Team Big Heart. They asked if we would take a photo with them with Town Crier Ed Christopher:

We became Facebook friends and friends "in real life" and found ourselves swept into the beautiful circle of Love and Kindness that IS The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.

I know deep in my heart and soul that angel Joseph orchestrated that Divine meeting with Linda and Brad. What were the chances right?

All of my fears melted away. My original goal of running my 3rd Consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon, sending a powerful message of healing, hope and possibility was eclipsed by that Divine moment.

While I continue to bring my inspirational message of healing to many, I felt a calling to become a part of Team Big Heart.

After meeting Brad and Linda, Tom said that he would love to run for Team Big Heart one day. That one day is happening in just a few weeks at The Falmouth Road Race! We found out that we are staying at the same hotel as Linda and Brad for race weekend. I love representing Team Big Heart whenever we train or run a race. While we have given The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation a lot of support, we have received so much more in return ... and it all began with synchronicity at the starting line.

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route. Proceeds from the sale of books for July are being donated to The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation to support Tom's Falmouth Road Race. You can also donate directly by following this link.

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