Monday, September 16, 2019

The Power of Running

Shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome now over 12 years ago, I wrote a poem called "Running the Race." It foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run. That poem turned on a spigot of healing in my soul and opened the portal to a world in which I imagined myself running unencumbered and free and in which I was healthy and whole breaking the shackles from my past. My running shoes became my erasers and every foot strike, as John "The Penguin" Bingham also said, carried me forward.

Our daughter Ruth Anne joined us on this running journey for the 2009 Boston Marathon and the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon but in January of 2018 she had a very serious relapse of her psychiatric condition. We have been blessed and are so grateful to have many of the pieces of the puzzle solved as to what has been going on with her and found a great combination of meds that as we say, just for today, are holding her in good stead. She is fighting with all that she has in her to recover this time and while she couldn't seem to get any momentum to go out and run, last Saturday we asked her if she wanted to join us and run/walk the 6th Annual Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart 5K.

She sprang up out of bed and said would she ever.

She knew about the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation and when she is not in the throes of a psychiatric condition episode, she is a kind and loving soul. Their mission resonates deep within her.

After the 5K on Saturday, she was absolutely exhausted (as she is recovering from a urinary tract infection as well as we lost count of how many hospitalizations since January of 2018) but what a joy to see her enjoying being outdoors and moving!

She slept for a lot of the day on Saturday but rather than it being a sleep of deep depression and anxiety, it was a restorative sleep.

This morning when the alarm went off at 6:00am, she was refreshed after a good night's sleep from a day of a lot of activity including a 1.5 mile run at a 12 minute/mile pace with her father.

She loves the early morning hours and the beauty of a sunrise and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir did not disappoint this morning.

While Tom ran at his pace, training for the BAA Half, Ruth Anne and I did our 5K together. It was a magical time together and one that I thought I would never know again given the course that Ruth Anne's condition had taken.

She insisted that in addition to the selfie we took at the Reservoir, that we take a selfie of just the two of us while Tom finished his run as we paused at the top of a hill:

Ruth Anne's energy is slowly coming back. Her desire to live has returned. Every day she struggles to heal her brain that had been affected by chronic infections she had as a child (a condition known as PANS) as well as heal from traumatic events and cope with chronic pain from a bladder condition called chronic interstitial cystitis. She has hope that she can heal, and get through the challenging moments that occur throughout the day. She has a sense of purpose and being a part of Team Big Heart ignites passion and compassion within her.

A big part of my healing journey that is now a part of Ruth Anne's healing journey is the power of running; a sport that brings together community and like hearted people with unconditional love and acceptance. A sport that takes us out into nature and brings us close to the Divine. The power of running helps to erase the past and each foot strike carries us forward.

Experience the power of running with us on September 28th at the 6th Annual Middlemiss Big Heart 5K.

You can register to run at the race or to do a virtual 5K by following this link.

There's a Celebrity Mile:

and an after race party sure to delight children of all ages.

The race beneficiaries are Ali and Kevin LaCoste, two very special superheroes. Kevin is recovering from a traumatic spinal cord injury that happened in July. We have an Army of supporters known as #lacostestrong that are supporting their recovery. Kevin is a beloved Principal, husband, father, brother and friend. He is a beloved member of Team Big Heart. Ali is a 5th grade teacher in Haverhill and has embraced the role of caregiver, advocate, wife, spokesperson while being a mom to their two children with incredible grace and grit.

The power of running will bring together the community of Team Big Heart and #lacostestrong to raise funds and create powerful ripples of healing, Love and kindness.

Team McManus is blessed and grateful to be a part of this incredible sport!

To your health and wellness
With love from my heart to yours

Be sure to visit my website at

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.

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