Monday, June 29, 2020

Dare to Go The Distance

The title of the second book in my Trilogy of Transformation is "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance." At the time I did not realize there was going to be a trilogy of transformation. I thought I had gone the distance and celebrated all that I had done and become in the wake of the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome. As I wrote in the Epilogue to "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," there were more chapters to write and more of the story to tell that had not been captured in "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" or "Going the Distance."

I sometimes feel in awe of the reservoir of strength within me and the Divine Guidance that I have tapped into since I was 5 years old after contracting paralytic polio. I was blessed to meet Jacqueline Hansen at the 2016 Hyannis Marathon Weekend. I was enthralled with hearing her speak at the pre-race pasta dinner and we connected when I bought her book, "A Long Time Coming" after the dinner. There's a beautiful story I share about seeing her out on the 10K course when she gave me a hug and said,"Run with your heart." I was deeply grateful to Jacqueline for agreeing to write the Foreword to "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance."


Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

I have found this to be true throughout my life. I have also found that I am attracted to strong women friends, who are strong willed, strong minded, with lots of endurance. At least once a day I must tell my-self, “thank goodness I’m a marathoner.” I am guessing that Mary McManus tells herself the same thing. She is certainly someone who has left indelible footprints in my heart. I have rarely met anyone with so many life-threatening challenges who portrays such an onward thinking attitude.

In fact, another Eleanor Roosevelt quotation reminds me of Mary: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

When you read about Mary’s life experiences you will wonder how does she not only endure, but lives her life with positivity in abundance. My closest friend in life lives by the motto “Be relentlessly positive,” which is written on her office door. Mary exudes this same attitude. You will not encounter a more positive person than Mary, despite all the challenges she has endured in life.

Try to imagine what it must have been like to be diagnosed with paralytic polio as a child. Try to imagine suffering child abuse at the hands of those very family members who are charged with your upbringing. Try to imagine them together. It’s unbearable to think about. Then imagine surviving the unthinkable, and in adulthood being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome. This is a story that needs to be told. This is a story of challenge, of resiliency, and a story of heart, tremendous heart.

I am fond of using the word “heart.” When coaching young athletes, which I have done my entire adult life, I often tell them to “run with heart.” As I explain to them, I can coach them on skills, on running form, on race strategy, on everything to do with their running, except I cannot create “heart.” This is something that only they can produce from within. I go on to say that “you have to want this (running or racing) more than I do – more than I want it for you.” “Always run with heart.” I am here to tell you that Mary McManus always runs with all her heart.

Just for a moment, let’s ponder the word “heart.” The Latin word for heart is “cor.” Cor is also the root of the word “courage.” I would attribute both heart and courage to Mary. Even Mary herself has said that “It takes incredible courage to heal trauma . . . healing both paralytic polio and trauma.” Author Parker Palmer wrote that “The heart is where we integrate what we know in our mind with what we know in our bones, the place where our knowledge can become more fully human. When all that we understand of self and world comes together in the center place called the heart, we are more likely to find the courage to act humanely on what we know.”

Besides being a former record-holding runner who became a coach, I am also an educator. I teach teachers about health education, so in turn they will teach the youth. One of the most important lessons we impart is how to build resilient young persons. In brief, I can tell you there are no apparent factors in Mary’s childhood that would lead to her developing into a resilient young adult and woman. Yet, nonetheless, she became so. When faced with the prognosis of spending her life in a wheelchair, she did not “settle.” She chose to reclaim her life with fervor.

A musician and poet, Patti Smith, wrote the book, “M Train,” for which she was described as having the rare gift of projecting radiance despite experiencing melancholy and grief in her life. Patti Smith once said “If we walk the victim, we’re perceived as the victim. And if we enter glowing and receptive . . . if we maintain our radiance and enter a situation with radiance, often radiance will come our way.”

In my heart, I believe our author Mary McManus has mastered overcoming challenges, maintaining positivity, possessing resiliency, portraying radiance; and in doing so, she provides great inspiration for others.

Jacqueline Hansen, M.Ed.
University Course Instructor, Health Education for Teachers
Track & Field, Cross Country Coaching Education
January 2017

My family members tried to snuff out the life force within me but I dared to defy them.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon daring to go the distance despite doctors and physical therapists telling me, "If you use it, you will lose it."

After a serious knee injury in December of 2014, I continued my quest to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and went on to run 3 consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons. I was told that I should stop running and would need a total knee replacement in a few years.

On the roads and in my life I have dared to go the distance because after all:

To learn more about my adventure from being told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon.

To your health and wellness
To daring to go the distance
From my heart to yours

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Focus on the Healing...

Thirteen years ago I set out on a healing odyssey after being given the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and instead, I discovered the power of the mind/body connection and harnessed my imagination and visualization for a different outcome through writing poetry. I wrote poetry that created a new future and healed my past.

One of my favorite poems from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poetry to Heal Your Life" is:

Focus on the Healing

Focus on the healing not on the wound
at first blush imperceptible changes
like the first peak at the crocus breaking ground
we can only imagine
what flower will emerge after the darkness of winter…

I had a dream last night
terror filled my body in the darkness
my father the intruder
thunder and lightning filled the room
crashing around me

“I never wanted to harm you”

Hyperventilation slows into steady breath
no longer raw and weary from the fight
wounds bound
roots grounded
peace descends
Spirit soars
only the trace of a scar remains
a reminder of the miracle of my life.

I continue to heal as healing is a journey not a destination.

I have a choice of where I focus my attention and I choose to focus my attention on all the healing I have experienced through these past 13 years mind, body and soul.

My body has transformed from a deconditioned survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to an endurance runner.

I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon, 3 Bermuda Half Marathons and many races since my running career began in February of 2008.

The mettle that was tested is in my collection of medals that reflect the healing I experienced despite the hardships (or maybe because of the hardships) I endured.

I continue to focus on the healing through a practice of gratitude thanking my body for all the healing that has happened and feeling excited for all the healing that continues as I add years to my age.

An orthopedic resident taught me an invaluable lesson many years ago after reconstructive leg surgery. She told me how the body heals from the inside out and that while initially you want to protect wounds from getting infected, you want to expose the wounds to air to facilitate healing!

During my healing odyssey, I let my wounds come to the surface and my natural state of well being to flow.

By focusing on the healing, rather than the wounds, I invited the Love of the Divine to bathe those wounds. I now send a powerful message of healing, hope and possibilities encouraging others to remember you are not your diagnosis and to focus on the healing...not on the wound!

To learn more about my journey from illness to wellness, visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

Friday, June 26, 2020

Stopping On A Dime!

Wednesday morning runs are my favorite runs especially when I get to run with the entire complement of Team McManus. t It's the last workout of a 5 day training cycle. I feel an impending sense of accomplishment and dedication to my health and fitness. In the summer, it's a day to celebrate being able to go outside with just a top (usually tank top) and shorts. It's also the day when we get up early and have breakfast in the yard after the run.

We ran down Eliot Street to make sure we had enough miles to meet my goal of 3.25 miles that would take me closer to my monthly goal of 40+ miles. After Wednesday's run I am at 35.17 miles thanks to an extra 5K for the Virtual Falmouth Education 5K Run last weekend but I digress...

As we were passing our house heading to the Reservoir after debating whether we should run the small or large Reservoir, Tom stopped on a dime.

"Wait. Here's a dime..."

The year was 1989, two years after the birth of our twins.

The day was cloudy but there is always beauty to behold at the newly renovated Route 9 Reservoir:

And we always remind ourselves to Run Happy:

Finding money on a run is a joyful reminder of our connection to Source. We used to find money all the time when we trained for the Boston Marathon; signs from the Divine that I was going to go the distance in fund raising and 26.2 miles after having been told in December of 2006 to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair due to the late effects of paralytic polio as a child.

Finding dimes has a particular significance for me as a polio survivor.

In 1926, Roosevelt started the non-profit Georgia Warm Springs Foundation on the site of the springs he visited to partake of the waters’ therapeutic effects. Twelve years later, he reinvented the charity as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP). The NFIP was a non-partisan association of health scientists and volunteers that helped fund research for a polio vaccine and assisted victims on the long path through physical rehabilitation. Funded originally through the generosity of wealthy celebrities at yearly President’s Birthday Balls, the foundation could not raise money fast enough to keep pace with polio’s continued toll on America’s children and, during the Depression, the polio epidemic worsened. In 1938, Roosevelt decided to appeal to the general public for help. At one fundraiser, celebrity singer Eddie Cantor jokingly urged the public to send dimes to the president, coining the term March of Dimes. The public took his appeal seriously, flooding the White House with 2,680,000 dimes and thousands of dollars in donations.

I am still in awe of my journey of transformation that you can learn about on my website at It's been 13 years since I took a leap of faith to leave my award winning career as a VA social worker to "heal my life." I dedicate five days a week to exercise and 7 days a week to emotional and spiritual well being with meditation, writing in a journal, writing poetry and having an attitude of gratitude.

I allow Spirit to guide me on this path and feel especially blessed when we stop on a dime to receive a sign on a wonderful winning Wednesday morning run.

My books that chronicle my journey of transformation and my book of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
To healing, hope and possibilities

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

On Walden Pond

During Tom's vacation week, you would find Team McManus on Olde Cape Cod enjoying a hotel stay and great seafood at our favorite restaurants. But this summer is different and so we have had to pivot.

On Monday afternoon, we decided to take a trip out to Walden Pond. We'd been watching the tweets from Walden Pond that announced capacity and how it would close when it reached capacity and reopen a few hours later. Since it was 3pm and there had been no tweets we decided to take a drive.

We got a parking space and went for a swim. With pools being closed since March, beaches requiring 12' of social distancing and lion mane jelly fish, we felt incredibly blessed to get in for a swim.

Yesterday we planned to go for a run and then return to Walden Pond for a swim. Given that the forecast predicted temperatures near 90, we had a feeling that capacity could be reached early on. We changed from running clothes into bathing suits, packed a picnic and spent a glorious morning swimming and enjoying being together unplugged, out in nature. The Pond closed a half hour after we arrived and reopened right before we left.

Thoreau's spirit is palpable at Walden Pond and these two quotes resonated with me as we enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings.

Ruth Anne and I have each had our journeys of transformation from illness to wellness. I healed the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and Ruth Anne is healing from the effects of an untreated infection that resulted in brain inflammation secondary to an auto immune response to the untreated infection. We have each learned to unlearn habits that we developed in order to survive our conditions and then to move beyond them and transform.

During our swim, a dragonfly came to visit us on each day.

I did a google search for dragonfly as an animal totem:

In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization.

The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life.  The Dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life.  The Dragonfly moves with elegance and grace.  The Dragonfly is iridescent both on its wings and body.  Iridescence shows itself in different colors depending on the angle and how the light falls on it. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity.

The Dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life.  This symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t, and to make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis.  The eyes of the Dragonfly symbolize the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self.  Dragonfly’s can be a symbol of self that comes with maturity. They can symbolize going past self-created illusions that limit our growth and ability to change.
The Dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries.  The Dragonfly means hope, change, and love.

As we celebrate healing, hope and possibilities during the summer of 2020, it was affirming to receive this sign from the Universe about the path Ruth Anne is on and the path I have walked and continue to walk.

We find blessings in the pandemic, although at times feel incredibly frustrated by not being able to enjoy the places we usually visit in summer and visit with friends. We rediscovered Walden Pond and rather than running around going to the Cape or different beaches, visiting friends, we get to slow down and make new pathways in our lives creating a present and a future with thoughts we wish to dominate in our lives. We have, through this pandemic, discovered how to simplify and declutter our lives and cherish the time we spend together; such as swimming on Walden Pond.

Be sure to visit my website at to be inspired by my journey of healing, hope and possibility.

My books are available on Amazon.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Race Report: The 2020 Virtual Falmouth Education 5K

I am a back of the pack runner yet, as Tom likes to say, For someone who was supposed to be in a wheelchair, you run pretty fast!” I have been so blessed that Race Directors welcome me to join their races when it is an all pace friendly race that includes walkers for my full on effort as a runner is most people’s walking pace. Yet I love showing up and opening up my body on race day to see what this body can do.

We planned to have a Father’s Day/Falmouth Education 5K race-cation on Cape Cod this year but then along came this pandemic which changed things up. We were, up until a few weeks ago still planning to go to Falmouth and doing the Virtual Race but it just didn’t feel right with all the ongoing restrictions so we pivoted to a stay-cation.

Yesterday we went out and marked the course for our Virtual 5K. We walked at a very easy pace and enjoyed being in nature kicking off Tom’s much deserved vacation.

I froze water bottles knowing it was going to be a hot day and mentally prepared myself to get into the mindset of racing.

We set alarms for 6:30 am and when they went off said ‘Happy Race Day!’

We had our breakfast after meditation, stretched, strapped on our water belts, experienced the joy of pinning on a race bib, and headed to the Virtual Starting Line that we scoped out on Saturday. The Race Directors for the Virtual Falmouth Education 5K Run/Walk put a video on their page with a Mashpee student singing the National Anthem. The theme for the day was together while apart.

We took our traditional pre-race selfie and off we went on our Virtual 5K knowing there was a community of runners coming together for a great cause (Falmouth Education) participating in a day of fitness and fun.

While we were unable to run along Falmouth Heights Beach and experience the scenery of Olde Cape Cod, we savored the beauty of the Reservoir while I pushed my pace.

We did stop to take photos and feel the connection to Nature and all that is.

We made sure to hydrate, run in the shade whenever possible, douse ourselves with ice water and express our deep gratitude for the day, being together and wonderful journeys of health and wellness for Ruth Anne and myself and for us as a family after the trauma of the past 4 years.

We imagined runners ahead of us and behind us while running our own race. There was pure joy in feeling the thrill of race day. I am blessed with a powerful imagination that carries me through life and enables me to experience the joys of the present moment even though it might not be what we had planned.

We pushed the pace with Ruth Anne encouraging me to use Deena Kastor’s technique of “reel it in” and we finished strong with negative splits feeling the satisfaction of a race well run; even more remarkable given the heat and that I had done a 5K walk yesterday to mark the course.

I’ve been working on improving my pace after the pandemic took its toll and feel uplifted and encouraged by today’s performance. It was fun to see photos posted by others who participated in the Virtual Run on their Facebook page and exchange conversations with friends we know and runners we have yet to meet.

Today’s run celebrated resilience, the ability to pivot when faced with challenges and finding joy and gratitude along the way.

We are hopeful that this was the 1st and last ever Virtual Falmouth Education 5K but whether we race together yet apart or in person, one thing is for sure, our love and passion for the sport always finds its way to prevail.

To learn more about my journey from being told I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon.

From my heart to yours
To your health and wellness

Friday, June 19, 2020

It's All So Possible!

Before Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile everyone thought it was impossible. But once he broke the 4 minute mile, others began to do the same because they realized it was, in fact, possible!

When I set out 13 years ago to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and having endured years of sexual, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of family members, I had no idea what was possible. I was told that I “had” Post Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and told I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I was told that if I used it I would lose it -- yes you read that right and that I needed to conserve my energy. If there were any hope of stabilizing the symptoms where they were, I needed to quit my award winning VA social work career just 3 years shy of ‘retirement.’ I was told that I might need a feeding tube because the left side of my esophagus was sluggish, a sleep apnea machine because my lungs were weak and I aspirated food into my lungs.

I was fitted for a toe up leg brace,

a cane and advised to use a wheelchair if I needed to go shopping or travel. I was advised to eat a semi soft food diet while doing a chin tuck; no talking while eating and use a straw so I didn’t choke on liquids.

I went along with the program for a couple of months. I knew I was at a crossroads in my life and I did what I had done throughout my life when faced with what seemed like insurmountable challenges, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance.

The answer came in the form of a poem, “Running the Race” and then many poems flowed out of me in which I imagined myself healthy, whole and free dancing in the rain and running - yes running although I never ran a day in my life up to that point - expressing, transforming and transcending the pain of my past through gratitude and forgiveness.

I was discharged from Spaulding Rehab in May 2007 during the same week that I took a leap of faith and left my career to heal my life. Fortunately, my physical therapist at Spaulding, Allison Lamarre-Poole believed in the body’s tremendous capacity to heal.

In October of 2007, the Universe connected with me Sierra Ann Hightower, an angel of a personal trainer as described in this video from Channel 7 News.

Together we created possibility out of a seemingly impossible situation. My initial goals were to get off of a low toilet seat, diversify my workouts and build on my home exercise program from Spaulding Rehab Hospital.

From “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953”:
Shortly after being discharged from outpatient physical therapy I met Janine Hightower through Herb Simmons. He knew Janine through his participation in the Cardiac Rehab program at Boston Medical Center. I was launching my business New World Greeting Cards, original poetry for every occasion. She was a member of BNI, a professional networking group. As we sat in my living room, she talked about BNI and the benefits of being a member of this networking group. As she talked, I wasn’t focused on growing my business. My mind zeroed in on her sharing with us how she used BNI to promote her in home personal training business.

“You know I’m curious,” I said to Janine. “Do you think you could help me? I was just discharged from Spaulding Rehab.”

I went on to tell her about my journey.

“I don’t know,” she said “but I’d certainly be happy to set up an assessment with you.”

I couldn’t even pass the initial fitness assessment.

“You’re way too young to not be able to get off of the toilet seat without holding on to the sink or to not be able to get off of the couch,” she said to me.

It was a statement of fact without judgment. She spoke the truth about my deconditioned physical state. I signed on to work with her once a week in personal training. I had no idea what or why I was doing this. I did know that if I was going to be in pain, I’d prefer to feel the pain of recovery instead of the pain of decline. Janine held enough faith for both of us that I could come out of my leg brace and have a good quality of life despite the diagnosis and prognosis I received.

Janine’s mantra for our work together was a quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!”

At my six-month evaluation in February, I made dramatic improvements in every area of the assessment. I had come out of my leg brace. I knew I was on a healing path.

“Let’s write down your goals for the next six months,” Janine said feeling proud and satisfied with my progress.

“Well I want to feel free in my body. I want to dance. I want to be able to walk outside and feel unencumbered when I take a walk.”

Janine feverishly wrote down my goals, and we worked out a plan. She gathered up her belongings and had her hand on the door knob.

“Wait. I have one more goal.”

Janine stopped and turned around.

“I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I know they have a Race for Rehab team and I want to do it next year.”

Did you ever have one of those moments when words fell out of your mouth after rising up from the depths of your soul without going through any thought process?

Janine was non-plussed. I don’t know what kept her from turning tail and getting as far away from me as she could. She came back into my house, set down her things and without missing a beat said, “Well the first thing you are going to need is a pair of running shoes.”

And so began my journey of a lifetime training for the 26.2 journey from Hopkinton to Boston on April 20, 2009.

Appearances can be deceiving. You are not your diagnosis. It’s quite miraculous what happens when we harness the power of our mind to heal our body and surround ourselves with people who believe in us and the body’s innate capacity to heal. Our imagination can create changes in the body and facilitate healing.

I share my story over and over again emphasizing different aspects of the journey so that others know what’s possible. As what happened with Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile, I am hoping others will break through their own belief barriers, harness the power of imagination to visualize different outcomes than ones predicted by others, and open the portal to healing, hope and possibilities!

It’s all so possible!

My story is one of many stories featured in Dr.David Hamilton’s 10th Anniversary Edition of “How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body” available on Amazon. By reading others' healing stories, you will be inspired to set out on your own journey firing up your imagination with how others were able to heal. Dr. David also offers how harnessing the power of your mind through visualization can improve your performance in sports, public speaking and creating a better quality of life for yourself and the world around you.

Visit my website at to learn more about my journey and to explore healing resources that I have used and continue to use during my healing quest.

My books are available on Amazon.

From my heart to yours
In health, wellness and infinite possibilities,

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rise, Shine and Run

Wednesday mornings are a special and sacred time for a before breakfast run for Ruth Anne and me. It's the one day that Tom goes into the office and has to get up early. We get up early with him and head out the door for a run.

One of my friend's posted on Facebook that if this is Mother Nature's way of apologizing for the past 3 months of lock down, she will accept it. We have had a glorious stretch of late Spring and now summer weather. It seemed as though summer was opening her arms to greet us with sunshine and a gentle breeze.

After four years of not being able to enjoy summers because of illness and frequent hospitalizations, 2020 is the summer to celebrate healing and recovery for Ruth Anne. You can read about her journey in my blog post "The Missing Piece of the Puzzle" We savor every moment of sunshine and our time together.
We always take time to enjoy the lushness of the newly renovated Reservoir and document these precious runs with a post run selfie.

When we got home we looked closely at the photo of the sun and expressed awe to see the extension of light and the angel orb.

On the run we talked about the miracle of healing in our lives; Ruth Anne with PANDAS and me with Post Polio Syndrome. We talked about how blessed we are to have found our healing paths and wonderful providers and teachers to help us harness our resilience, strength, courage and to relight the spark of our own lights within us through our connection with Source. We are now beacons of light with our message of healing, hope and possibilities despite all appearances to the contrary.

Our hearts swell with gratitude and we savor those special moments while running when we discover time and again how wonderful life really is!

Be sure to visit my website at and be inspired by my incredible journey from having been told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

My books are available on Amazon.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Wonderful Winning Wednesday Run: Reflections on Contentment

On Wednesday mornings we get up and go out for a run before breakfast. It's a beautiful time of the day to feel fresh air and sunshine and get moving to wake up and create a wonderful day.

Last Monday was a challenging day which we were able to get through with strength, resilience and team work. I felt the newness of opportunity and possibility when Wednesday morning arrived. Tom works in his office on Wednesdays so can't join us on these runs but it is special mother/daughter time together.

We set out at an easy pace going twice around the newly renovated Route 9 Reservoir. We reflected on what had happened on Monday, Ruth Anne's journey of the past 4 years and the joy of moving forward in her life. It was a gratitude run during which we felt deep gratitude for the wonderful providers we have to support Ruth Anne's wellness and how, despite the odds, we never gave up!

We talked about transformation and change that was happening in the world in the wake of the pandemic and events happening in the world.

We paused to take photos and savor the beauty of the morning:

We did a little extra mileage for a total of 3.4 miles. When we arrived home, besides feeling the flood of endorphins that happens after a good run, I felt my heart swell with contentment.

We prepared breakfast and took it on a tray into our yard savoring cold OJ, toast, bananas and cereal.

I reflected on our blessings and allowed a sense of contentment to wash over me and wash away and heal the past 4 years of pain, struggle and suffering as Ruth Anne endured multiple hospitalizations with no clear diagnosis. She endured medication trials that were harmful and had become conditioned to "illness."

But now illness is being transformed into wellness. I know that journey well as during these past 13 years I healed the once ravaging effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

A morning run, great conversation, a delicious breakfast in the sunshine and journeys from illness to heart is full and grateful overflowing with contentment for all that is here and now!

Be sure to visit my website at to be inspired by my healing quest from being told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond!

My books are available on Amazon.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Monday, June 15, 2020

I am in competition with no one...

Many of my friends have said how it's difficult to stay motivated with running since there are no in person races. During the initial phases of the pandemic, I felt sluggish in my runs. Running by parks and playgrounds with caution tape and orange caution signs without the joyous sounds of children before school or during recess was gut wrenching. The uncertainty of it all and the fear and anxiety streaming from the media and social media took its toll. Race after race was cancelled and social distancing and masks became the norm limiting running routes. The focus was on avoiding other people, putting masks on and off and just getting through the miles rather than feeling the joy of running.

Once the Reservoir reopened on Route 9, we had a beautiful renovated space in which to run with relative ease of social distancing but throughout my 13 year health and wellness journey healing the effects of paralytic polio , I know that motivation comes from within and needs to happen regardless of external circumstances.

My first step back after the shock of the pandemic was to truly relish and enjoy runs. As the weather warmed and we were treated to a beautiful Spring that transformed into summer, it became easier to enjoy the runs.

While I was saddened by races either being cancelled or made into virtual races, I decided it was time to work on my pace again.

I finished my 2nd reading of Deena Kastor's book, "Let Your Mind Run."

I dog eared a lot of pages with quotes and inspiration to take with me on my runs.

Tom and Ruth Anne are training for the Falmouth Road Race At Home Edition and were doing 6 miles on Saturday. I wanted to get in 3.25 miles and make it a fun tempo run. Tom and Ruth Anne took off ahead of me and I let my mind sort and sift through the different stories Deena shares about her journey.

One of the techniques she uses to take her mind off of any discomfort and to increase her pace is, "Reel that in," whether it's a competitor or a landmark of some kind.

I had a lot of fun playing running around the Reservoir with reel that person in or reel the house in. After I finished running around the Reservoir, I reeled in stop signs and poles.

Having a glorious weather day sure did help the pace along:

I was delighted to see negative splits and a fastest time since early May.

Tom texted me updates as they finished their 6 miles and I went out to greet them simulating a finish line:

And then we took our traditional post run selfie:

What a wonderful feeling that Team McManus reached their Saturday run goals being in competition with no one else but being the best we can be.

To quote George Sheehan:

Next Saturday we will do a shake out 5K in preparation for Sunday's virtual Falmouth Education 5K.

Technically with a virtual race we will be in competition with no one but I will be in competition with myself running free!

Be sure to visit my website at to be inspired by my journey from a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

My books are available on Amazon.

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