Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Run Bermuda! Run Happy!

This year has been fraught with challenges that took us right to the edge of our very being. Our daughter was critically ill without any diagnosis to guide treatment. In August, I trusted my gut and made the diagnosis of PANDAS after putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

With proper treatment and wonderful treatment providers, Ruth Anne has slowly been reclaiming her life. She started running again and had a wildly successful Bill Rodgers Somerville Jingle Bell 5K (which was actually a 3.5 miler with all hills).

Rewind to Bermuda Day Weekend in May.

We stayed at the Royal Palms Hotel and decided we would return there for Bermuda Marathon Weekend now known as Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Tom wanted his redemption after being injured for the 2019 Bermuda Challenge when he was able to run only in the 10K event.

But life happened quickly and Ruth Anne's condition declined. We were not sure if she was going to live until the end of the year. The thought of going to Bermuda which was her happy place along with changes in the Race Weekend led us to change our plans to go to Puerto Rico during race weekend. We were planning to just sit by the pool or go to the beach and have a break from runcations.

I sensed that, while Ruth Anne was delighted to be going to a warmer climate in the middle of winter and we had gone to Puerto Rico when we trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon, she seemed depressed and anxious about going to Puerto Rico.

As I was sending our itinerary to a friend taking care of Jamie (our cat) while we are away and our son, I had this feeling hit me deep in my gut. Four hours on a plane and going to a destination unfamiliar to us was not going to work for Ruth Anne this early in her recovery yet when I asked her if she was okay with it, she said she was fine (true to Ruth Anne's altruistic nature and putting others' needs first).

But I was unrelenting in talking with her about it and suggested we try to change back to Bermuda!

Within a few hours, we had our airline booked with OUTSTANDING customer service from Jet Blue and our room was booked with the same rate thanks to the incredible Bermudian hospitality at Royal Palms Hotel.

Then came the next question...would this be a runcation?

What do you think??

I was initially quite concerned about Ruth Anne not being trained for a 10K.

Tom was already registered for the Challenge but not trained for another Half. We went back and forth and decided that he will run the Mile and the 10K and Ruth Anne will have an epic running comeback joining forces with her dad in the 10K. It's a run/walk 10K with a 2 hour and 30 minute time limit so there's no pressure to complete the race in a certain time limit.

I get to be support crew and soak up all the delicious energy of race weekend.

Our excitement is palpable.

This will be Tom's 5th consecutive year running in events during Bermuda's Race Weekend.

I have incredible memories of my epic 3 consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons in 2016, 2017 and 2018 after having been told in December of 2014 that I should stop running and prepare for a total knee replacement after a serious knee injury.

Here we are with the Town Crier in January of 2016:

There was a photo on the race website of runners after they finished the race with the Town Crier that I used as part of my visualization to prepare for my race.

In 2017, I was on the struggle bus after mile 10. I ended up in the medical tent but not before I crossed that finish line.

In 2018, Ruth Anne was well enough to train for and join us for the Bermuda Half:

but shortly after we returned, she became ill and endured 14 hospitalizations until I was able to make the diagnosis and advocate for treatment with her providers.

Tom and Ruth Anne have an excellent base to build on with their 5 mile training runs in Heartbreak Hill, in these two short weeks before race day. They will do a 6 miler tomorrow. We are going to use the power of the mind/body connection and visualization to prepare them for a wonder filled race day.

We will be inspired by Billy Mills and his biggest upset in Olympic History:

What a whirlwind!

Two weeks from Thursday Team McManus returns to our happy place. Tom and Ruth Anne will Run Bermuda and Run oh so Happy celebrating health and wellness, healing, hope and possibilities.

We are all delighted to bid 2019 and this decade a fond goodbye excited to open our hearts with gratitude and grace to embrace all the possibilities that 2020 and a new decade bring.

Happy New Year!

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

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

Be inspired by my interview with Kendra Petrone on the award winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

To experience an epic race weekend and hear me share my journey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond come to the Hyannis Marathon Weekend February 21-23 2020.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Gratitude Prompts!

~From Anita Moorjani

Shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome now 13 years ago, I realized that I was at a crossroads in my life. I was withering away mind, body and soul. Despite being at the top of my game as an award winning social worker at the VA, I was in constant physical, emotional and spiritual pain. The years of dissociating mind from body to survive childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma finally caught up with me.

I turned inward and asked for Divine Guidance and outward to the works of wonderful teachers like Wayne Dyer and my dear life coach, Bernie Siegel, MD. They all emphasized the importance of gratitude.

Gratitude? Really? was my first thought. I lived through hell during my childhood and adolescence and now my body was betraying me a 2nd time with this diagnosis.

But I knew that staying in a state of anger and resentment would only make things worse.

And so I got still and asked for Divine Guidance ...

poured out of my soul. One of the first poems I wrote was:

The Gift of Polio from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life"
Thank you God for the gift of polio that brought me so close to you
while paralyzed I saw your face no matter what I’d do
Many wonderful healers you sent them to me at age 5
perseverance and triumph life’s lessons learned
but my Spirit could not yet thrive.

At age 53 the gift was sent to me a second time
having time to sit and feel to heal I started to rhyme.
The second time felt worse than the first
yet your love and wisdom I found
out of pain and weakness and fatigue a remarkable spirit rebound.

Reliving all the trauma of special shoes and such
I discovered remarkable healers who brought a loving touch.
I had no clue I had such strength and the ability to grow
no matter what the outcome deep gratitude I show.

This gift so precious I live a new life gratitude flows from me
my heart and soul are filled with grace each day’s a gift from thee.

I kept a gratitude journal and incorporated the practice of gratitude into my daily life.

The more I expressed my gratitude, the more things I had to be grateful for!

As I shifted from the role of victim and harnessed the power of my mind/body connection, along with intensive rehabilitation for my deconditioned state, I experienced transformation. I saw myself as I wanted to be rather than focusing on my physical state at that time.

From "Feel the Heal":
What is so striking to me is that a poem I wrote in 2007 is now manifesting in physical reality. I write about the tremors being healed and having a strong core; creating myself anew and playing my game my rules (to quote Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillvray's favorite phrase that I only heard last year). At the time, I had not yet been discharged from Spaulding Rehab's outpatient care. I was told that I would need to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I was by all appearances weak, deconditioned, wearing a leg brace, experiencing chronic fatigue and pain. Tremors were very evident at the time and yet, yet I wrote this poem that talks about the body falling away healed as I prepared to leave my award winning career as a VA social worker:

A Date With Destiny

Don’t wait til you die to let your soul fly free
please listen and hear what happened to me.
My body was broken every imaginable place
yet to the world always a smile on my face.
My soul trapped inside feeling it was broken too
God brought me out of darkness my light I shine on you.
She showed me the way through people I met
it took awhile a message hard to get.

The kingdom of heaven is right inside me
take the leap of faith fulfill destiny.
While I did my soul work and let my soul fly free
my body transformed changes did I see.
My head now aligned the tremor no more
my body aligned such strength in my core.
When once head detached from my heart and my soul
they all work together amazingly whole.
The rules that I live by are my rules alone
I found strength and courage the past now has flown.

I followed my heart to create myself anew
to feel simply Divine despite all I’ve lived through.
Take the leap of faith into grace I can fall
but I’m floating on air answering God’s call
Don’t wait til you die to let your soul fly free
there’s no reason to live a life in misery.
Follow your passions and I will tell you this
the body falls away healed when you follow your bliss.

When I received Anita Moorjani's Newsletter this morning with these Gratitude Prompts, I was moved to complete the prompts and share them with you!

Here are my responses:
A strength I am grateful for...endurance
Something money can't buy that I am grateful for... my health and wellness
Something that comforts me that I'm grateful for...Jamie our beloved cat
Something that's funny that I'm grateful for ... the words we try to make when playing Scrabble
Something in nature I am grateful for is...any body of water I can run near
A memory I'm grateful for is ... running the 2009 Boston Marathon
Something that changes that I'm grateful for....the seasons in New England
A challenge I'm grateful for is....living with a neuromuscular condition
Something interesting that I'm grateful for is ... the ever evolving science of the mind/body connection
Something beautiful I'm grateful for is...the ocean

May these gratitude prompts prompt you to live and be in a state of gratitude today and every day through the New Year.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

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

Be inspired by my interview with Kendra Petrone on the award winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

To experience an epic race weekend and hear me share my journey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond come to the Hyannis Marathon Weekend February 21-23 2020.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Hills, Thrills and Christmas Spirit in the Air

Winter running can be challenging in New England especially when we have snow/ice/thawing/snow/ice cycles of weather. Unless it is bitter bitter cold or the roads are too icy for safe running, we head outside to get our run on.

Saturday we did a Winter Solstice 5K in our neighborhood. After feeling frustrated by where we could safely run, I was inspired to suggest a neighborhood run and to focus on the holiday decorations that we usually don't take the time to enjoy as we drive by quickly in our car.

As we ran by the hill we trained on for the Boston Marathon 2009, we reminisced about doing hill repeats with our personal trainer. Ruth Anne suggested we tackle the hill for old times sake...and we did ... twice!

Our cheeks were nice and rosy and we savored the experience of our neighborhood run reminiscing all the way.

We took our selfie at the base of the hill:

Yesterday we headed to Heartbreak Hill where Tom and Ruth Anne are starting their training for the Hyannis Marathon Weekend 10K and I'm rocking my 5K distance.

As they took off for their 5 mile run, I embraced the warm sun and the cool air giving thanks for every step I am able to take. It's hard to believe that 13 years ago I was given the diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease and told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

I have run the 2009 Boston Marathon, many 5 and 10K's and several half marathons. I am content with a 5K distance for now.

As part of me wished that I could keep pace with Ruth Anne and Tom....that's only human, the Divine sent me signs.

Tom had locked himself out of his iPhone so I was responsible for taking the photos on this run.

I love how the sun shines through the trees on Heartbreak Hill in winter.

I captured the shape of a dove through the trees and this amazing orb:

Shortly after capturing these photos, I was heading back to the car, I stopped for water. My gaze was drawn upward where I saw this angel:

It dissipated by the end of my water break!

In the distance I heard carolers. They were standing in front of a beautiful home on the other side of Comm Ave. After they finished I stopped and clapped for them.

They came off the steps of the house standing in formation singing an amazing rendition of Jingle Bells. After finishing their song they shouted out Happy Holidays and waved.

I was brought to hears and clapped for them letting them know they made my day! They went on to the next house to bring Christmas joy as I realized all I experience when I run at my pace.

I finished my run, stretched, hydrated and waited for the return of Tom and Ruth Anne feeling that delicious feeling that one feels after a great run.

We took our selfie:

heading home sweaty with full hearts and tired muscles.

Yesterday was my last run as a 65 year old.

Tomorrow I will head out for my 66 minute birthday run...

It's been a year filled with challenges, pain and suffering until August when we were finally able to get a diagnosis for Ruth Anne along with proper treatment for an auto immune condition that caused brain inflammation with its concomitant challenges.

As they say in Sweet Charity, it's not where you start, it's where you finish!

I ended my 65th year with hills, thrills and feeling Christmas Spirit in the air ready to embrace a new year of living, loving and sharing my inspirational journey!

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

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

Be inspired by my interview with Kendra Petrone on the award winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

To experience an epic race weekend and hear me share my journey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond come to the Hyannis Marathon Weekend February 21-23 2020.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Camp Hyannis 2020 - A Look Back and a Look Ahead

The Hyannis Marathon Weekend was named Camp Hyannis in 2011. I ran my first Half Marathon during Hyannis Marathon Weekend in 2009 on the road to the Boston Marathon. Paul Collyer, aka Paulie, warmly welcomed me to his race. It was my first of many many adventures during his race weekend where I met and was embraced by Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers.

I earned my first medal during that cold February day that ended with sleet and freezing rain.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

On Friday, as I was packing to go to Hyannis Marathon Weekend, I felt the presence of Joe Stetz

and of all those wonderful memories of Badger Day Camp. We get to see old friends who we only see once a year at Hyannis i.e. returning campers, meet up with friends who are going for the first time, and make new friends. I felt Joe's presence as I was going into the weekend and knew he was going to be with me when I ran the race. Why was I so anxious about Hyannis? It's in the middle of a New England winter. While nobody likes to run in the cold, it is a particular challenge for me. This winter has been grueling but I knew I had done everything I could to train for the race. Deborah and I were running together again. She invited one of her friends to join the Sparkling Divas. I was anxious running with someone who I would meet for the first time at the starting line.

After checking into our room, we unpacked and laid out everything we would need for race day. It was time to head out to the Expo. Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers would not be returning campers ahem speakers this year. We reunited with Dick Hoyt and Kathy Boyer of Team Hoyt. Dick recently had knee surgery and would not be running. I felt nostalgic about our reunion with Dick and purchased an autographed copy of his book, “Devoted”. The guest speakers for the pre-race pasta dinner were Jack Fultz, 1976 Boston Marathon winner in the “run for the hoses” race, and Jimmy Garcia, an ultra marathoner and winner of the 2003 Hyannis Marathon. We waited in line for an autographed poster of Jack Fultz. I shared my inspirational journey with him. Running greats resonate to the joy of the challenges I have overcome.

I texted Sparkling Diva Deborah. We met up at the Expo psyching ourselves up for the next day's run.

Campers arrived with coolers and running clothes in tow. The energy was electric.

We bumped into returning campers exchanging hugs with “How was your year?”

Tom and I went for a swim to stay loose. We showered, changed and headed to the mess hall - I mean ballroom for the pre-race pasta dinner. Here's where the camp theme really kicks into high gear. The food is lousy but you don't care. It's overcooked pasta, wilted salad from marinating in salad dressing for too long and focaccia bread. Instead of singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall, there are 99 bottles of beer (or more) stocked in the bar which runners imbibe to add to the carbo loading. We sat with Mike with whom we have shared previous years' pre-race pasta dinners getting caught up on each other's lives. We shared photos in our phones of the family and were joined by two new campers who were friends of Mike. I called fellow camper Ric to see where he was and he was on his way with a host of campers old and new. He asked if I would save him a table - honest to God - just like we used to do at camp only we'd throw a sweatshirt or use our hand to save a seat for our fellow camper. I turned the chairs in at the banquet table for them to reserve their seats.

I met Jimmy Garcia and viewed all of his belt buckle bling from his ultramarathon runs. We hung out for awhile before saying good night knowing tomorrow was race day. Ric introduced me to Mark and Laura. Laura is a Boston Children’s Hospital miracle treated for scoliosis. Tom was running the 2011 Boston Marathon to raise money for Children’s Hospital. She may have two rods in her back, but she is going to run her first Marathon in May. We inspired each other with our running journeys.

I had the usual pre-race anxiety dreams including one in which my alarm didn't go off. I awoke before the alarm and slowly stretched and calmed my nerves. We awoke to snow; about 2 inches on the golf course outside of our window and flakes steadily coming down. We brought our pre-race breakfast adding to it from the Starbucks in the lobby.

No matter what I was going to run this race today. I calmed the butterflies in my stomach by listening to my iPod running playlist, meditating on the falling snow, recalling the words of Joe Stetz and drinking in all of the love and prayers from Twitter and Facebook that had been sent to me.

I've been blessed to share my journey and sell my books at Paulie's Expo:

and had an epic comeback in February of 2016 meeting up with many friends during Race Weekend:

and making new friends like Jacqueline Hansen, pioneer in women's endurance running, who was enthralled with my journey and wrote the Foreword to my book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance."

Fast forward to bib pick up for the 2019 Bill Rodgers Somerville Jingle Bell 5K Walk and Run. I had suggested to Paulie that I be one of his special guests at the 2020 Hyannis Marathon Weekend. He was delighted! We hadn't seen each other in awhile and it was great to be reunited with Paulie and Bill. Paulie captured this photo of us holding each other's books!


We bought this memorabilia autographed by Bill:

"You conquered the Boston Marathon hills for Spaulding" "You are the ultimate comeback! Let's run forever!"

I gave Paulie an autographed copy of "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" and he asked me to also have Billy sign it. He later posted on Facebook:

Am overwhelmed to find myself have a wee bit part in this wonderful book written by Mary McManus.....

He shared the book cover, the dedication, and my recap of that first Hyannis Marathon Weekend in 2009:

We are so excited for Camp Hyannis 2020.

I've heard from friends who are going to be a part of the weekend including the Mystics who I "just happened" to meet in 2016:

“It’s a sign!” a group of runners exclaimed as they walked by my table at the Hyannis Race Expo.

They picked up my medal from the Bermuda Half Marathon.

“We were just talking about how we have to run Bermuda. We are putting it on our bucket list.”

The Mystic Runners from Wakefield, Massachusetts were deeply moved by my inspirational journey. In that moment of synchronicity, we became fast friends.

Tom and Ruth Anne will run the 10K and it will be Ruth Anne's comeback race at that distance since she ran the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon.

Hyannis Marathon Weekend affectionately known as Camp Hyannis holds many fond memories for Team McManus.

We look forward to making wonderful memories to cherish at Camp Hyannis 2020.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

To learn more about my journey from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Looking for great gift ideas? Give the gift of inspiration with my books available on Amazon....

and/or the gift of healing choosing from suggestions on my website's "Healing Resources" page.

Be sure to listen to my interview with Kendra Petrone on the Award Winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Five Years Ago...Your Body's Capacity to Heal...

In 2014, I had an epic running and racing comeback. My nephew died by suicide in March of 2011. It was a blow to my life that I did not think I could recover from after having lived through so much trauma in my earlier years. It took the events of 4/15/13 to be a wake up call for me to return to the roads and my life.

I ran 9 races in 9 months crushing PR after PR at the 5K and 10K distance.

The pain had been coming on slowly to my left knee but like so many runners, I ignored it thinking that with a little more rest it would be fine. At the Miss Santa Holiday 5K, my left knee said "Enough! If you aren't going to pay attention to me, I am going to get your attention!" I could no longer put any weight on me knee by the time we went to the after party on Beacon Hill.

Tom and I debated about whether or not to go to the Emergency Room. We were just down the street from Mass. General but I drew from all the healing I had done through the power of the mind/body connection through the years and decided to go home. With a lot of Advil, ice, meditation and a cane from CVS, I was able to get around.

I decided that I needed to find out what needed healing and so I saw the physiatrist associated with the International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio at the Spaulding Rehab Outpatient Clinic in Framingham. He was kind and gentle yet continued to warn me about the risks of running as a survivor of paralytic polio. He knew that I would return to the sport that gives me so much but I agreed to take a break until we could get the MRI results and I could have a course of physical therapy to rehab the knee.

He also highly suggested that I return to the Post Polio Clinic for a complete re-evaluation because it was only a matter of time before the symptoms progressed.

I watched myself make the appointment for the re-evaluation but first I had to see what was going on with my knee.

We went for the MRI and I looked up the results on line before my next appointment. The prognosis was grim but so was my prognosis in December of 2006 when I was told I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I went on to cross the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and heal my life mind, body and soul.

Dr. Rosenberg told me that the knee was beyond repair and I should prepare for a total knee replacement in a few years. He gave me a prescription for physical therapy and warned me to not run but if I did, I should cap my distance at a 5K.

I cancelled the appointments with the Post Polio Clinic and went for physical therapy. The Universe clearly had another plan for me because I had the physical therapist from hell at the Spaulding Rehab Outpatient Clinic in Brighton. She came highly recommended but not for me.

I was led to Ryan J. Means,DC a chiropractor, who was enthralled with my healing journey and believed, as I do, in the body's tremendous capacity for healing through the power of the mind/body connection and creating an optimal environment for healing.

We set out to heal my knee, balance out and strengthen my body and grow a new gastroc muscle. Yes...you read that right.

The MRI showed that my gastroc muscle had atrophied from the initial polio virus. As Dr. Rosenberg went through the MRI results he said, "Well we knew your gastroc muscle had atrophied from the polio virus when you were 5 and there's nothing we can do about that." Part of the stress on the knee joint was because I did not have adequate support from my calf muscle.

In addition to being a chiropractor, Dr. Ryan was a personal trainer so he prescribed a new strength training workout routine that I do to this day increasing the challenge as the exercises become easier for me to do.

"You have GOT to read this book," Dr. Ryan said to me. "It's called 'You Are the Placebo' by Dr. Joe Dispenza."

He went on to give me recommendations for healing resources many of which are on my website. I discovered many more resources on my own from the foundation that Dr. Ryan gave me. He left in the summer after I met him to practice chiropractic in China and now in Vietnam but we have remained in touch through the years and the imprint he left to heal remains to this day.

By March, I was out on the roads armed with meditations, affirmations, KT tape - a lot of KT tape and my fiery determination with a renewed dedication and commitment to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

In April, Dr. Ryan asked me a critical question: "Why Set Limits?"

Why set limits indeed?

I trained for the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 2016. Standing at the outdoor race expo were representative for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. We had seen them at many Expos but I would quickly walk by. In 2010 I planned to run Bermuda as a bucket list race but abandoned the idea (and so much of life) after my nephew's death.

As I heard the Bermudian accents while Tom chatted with Race Director Anthony Raynor and his assistant Clarence Smith, I inched closer and closer to their display.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

Anthony Raynor and Clarence Smith had me at hello at the Bermuda Marathon Weekend Booth at the Finish at the 50 Expo. Tom started chatting with Clarence "Stoker" Smith. I hung back but cocked an ear to the conversation. I gingerly eyed the pink Bermuda wrist bands, the bling from Bermuda Marathon Weekend races and the samples of pink sand. I glanced at Tom and felt we each had a tug at our souls. The tug got stronger with each moment we talked with Clarence and Anthony. We reminisced about when we went to Bermuda. I felt goosebumps and a warm feeling come over me, while a part of me was wondering why was I even having this conversation about running in Bermuda. Several months ago I was told to cap my distance and prepare for a total knee replacement.

“If you can get up to the Half Marathon distance, you’ll be better off than running the 10K with all of its steep hills,” Anthony said in his delicious Bermudian accent.

“The last time I was in Bermuda I was in a leg brace using a cane and a wheelchair.”

Clarence's wife said, "Look at you now girl."

There was no stopping me now. We exchanged information. Clarence told us he'd pick us up at the airport. I chatted with Anthony about the weather in January.

"Look," he said with a deep warm laugh, "I was told you people still have piles of snow near the Seaport Hotel from this past winter. I can guarantee you this. You will have no snow in Bermuda in January."

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.” ~Mark Twain

It was time to sail away from safe harbor and go the distance again. This time on the magical Island of Bermuda.

We went on to run the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Bermuda Half Marathons.

Five years later and my left knee is doing just fine thank you very much.

I've decided to keep my distance at 5K's for now but not because someone else has told me to set limits.

I'm blessed and grateful that 13 years after the diagnosis of what doctors believe to be a progressive neuromuscular disease, and, at the soon to be age of 66 years old (on Christmas) I still run and workout 5 days a week. I challenge myself with my strength training workouts and am working on my pace at the 5K distance.

Five years ago my left knee blew out after not minding my body. By harnessing the power of the mind/body connection, having a new strength training regimen, a healer who believed in me and realizing I had not come that far to have only come that far, I once again sent a message of healing, hope and possibilities.

Our body's capacity to heal is far greater than anyone has led us to believe although we are so fortunate to live in an age where all of the old beliefs are being replaced with new science.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

To learn more about my journey from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Looking for great gift ideas? Give the gift of inspiration with my books available on Amazon....

and/or the gift of healing choosing from suggestions on my website's "Healing Resources" page.

Be sure to listen to my interview with Kendra Petrone on the Award Winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

Monday, December 16, 2019

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I have been so blessed to experience magic and miracles in my life after the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome. So often the magic and miracles happened through the sport of running and often at a race directed by Paul Collyer of BA Event Promotions.

Yesterday morning, Tom and I along with our village in the running community via Facebook were blessed to witness magic and miracles at the Bill Rodgers Somerville Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk.

From 1/2018-8/2019 Ruth Anne endured 14 hospitalizations for psychiatric symptoms that were actually caused by an untreated infection. We realized in August that she lives with an autoimmune condition that causes her body to experience brain inflammation in response to an infection (originally strep when she was 6 years old) and cause neuropsychiatric symptoms. With an aggressive course of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory meds and meds to treat the psychiatric symptoms, she had an EPIC comeback race yesterday with her proud dad Tom McManus on the Somerville hills at the Bill Rodgers "Somerville Jingle Bell Run & Walk".

We are deeply grateful for Occupational Therapy at Spaulding Rehab and an incredible Team at Harvard Vanguard Associates along with Ruth Anne's indomitable spirit and fiery determination to overcome!

Ruth Anne had not run a race since we crossed the finish line of the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon. She was in too much physical and emotional pain to run or at times to even go on living!

In February of this year she took an overdose but somehow soldiered on enduring misdiagnoses and wrong medications until we finally found the missing piece of the puzzle in August.

She returned to the sport of running that had brought her and Team McManus so much joy and healing through the years in early September.

We walked the Joseph Middlemiss Superhero 5K at the end of September.

Ruth Anne took the first steps of her return to life surrounded by a community of love.

After the Superhero 5K, Ruth Anne decided she wanted to run the Jingle Bell 5K with her dad. I was overjoyed and quite content to be support crew. I knew there was one big hill in the race and so we took to Heartbreak Hill for our training runs. Ruth Anne went back to basics using the Galloway walk/run method. Tom was timekeeper, pacer and cheerleader while I would go off and do my 5K's at my pace. They slowly built up the run/walk ratio and their miles to 4 miles. We didn't know how important those extra miles and hill training would be come race day.

The weather was supposed to have wind gusts up to 30 mph but magically the winds died down and the sun came out. It was brisk before gun time but many runners were pouring sweat when they crossed the finish line. We had a miraculous thaw and all the snow and ice that had fallen earlier in the week had melted before race day.

We saw Paulie and other friends at the start and took our pre race selfie photos. Ruth Anne and Tom's goals for the race were to have fun and finish!

While I was enjoying pre-race announcements by Paulie, and Boston Marathon champions Jack Fultz and Bill Rodgers:

Ruth Anne was planning out her race strategy:

At 10am the runners were off:

After 17 minutes and change, the first Santa crossed the finish line. I love watching a race. It fires up my mirror neurons and inspires me to be the best runner I can be. I cheered the runners into the finish and enjoyed the announcements welcoming runners back to the finish line.

Around the 50 minute mark I was getting a little antsy. Paulie could tell I was a little anxious and said, "They're still coming in Mary. Tom and Ruth Anne should be along shortly....How's she doing by the way?"

"I hope she's okay," I said. Paulie went on to clarify, "No I mean how is she doing?"

"Oh it's like night and day Paulie. We are so blessed!"

And a few minutes later ... that magical moment of seeing Tom and Ruth Anne coming into the finish line:

Paulie captured this still photo:

Here they are with their bling beautifully crafted by Ashworth Awards:

After expressing my deepest gratitude and love to Paulie, we wished each other a wonderful rest of the day. We went to Diesel Cafe to warm up and refuel as Tom and Ruth Anne recounted their race with me. Because of construction detours, the race was about 3.55-3.6 miles (according to people's Garmins as they posted on Facebook) and it was all hills. Their training served them well!

They achieved their race goals to have fun and finish! Ruth Anne is well on her way to reclaiming her life after enduring three years of seemingly endless suffering with a very poor prognosis.

Do you believe in miracles?

I sure do!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

To learn more about my journey from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Looking for great gift ideas? Give the gift of inspiration with my books available on Amazon....

and/or the gift of healing choosing from suggestions on my website's "Healing Resources" page.

Be sure to listen to my interview with Kendra Petrone on the Award Winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link