Monday, September 28, 2020

A Recap of Catie's Closet Virtual 5K

and when you run Catie's Closet Virtual 5K, your running shoes have the magic to purchase a new pair of running shoes for a child in need in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The motto for Catie's Closet Virtual 5K is Step Into Their Shoes. They created the race as a way to raise money to purchase new sneakers for children in need especially during these unprecedented times where economic challenges and services to those in need are great.

The organizers were hoping for 100 participants but are currently at 261 runners/walkers. They extended the race to October 7th with registration closing on 9/30th.

Schools equipped with a Catie’s Closet give students living in poverty the ability to discreetly pick and choose the clothing and basic necessities they need, and are proud to wear. Lack of access to basic necessities is one of the top reasons for absenteeism.

By meeting students’ needs, Catie’s Closet boosts self esteem and motivates students to attend school and focus on their education.

Our daughter volunteered for Catie's Closet last year. A few weeks ago one of my dear friends posted on Facebook about Catie's Closet and their dire need for in kind and cash donations. We went to their website to see how we could help and signed up for the 5K along with purchasing items from their wish list on Amazon.

It was a beautiful weather day for a 5K supporting a great cause knowing that because we laced up our running shoes, kids in need would be able to lace up a new pair of sneakers.

Here we are at the "starting line":

Scenes along the way:

Mid-run photos:

At the finish line:

Our hearts overflowed with gratitude that we could support a great cause during our Saturday morning 5K.

Organizations like Catie's Closet need our support more than ever at a time when need far exceeds what agencies are receiving during these challenging times.

You can give the gift of exercise to yourself while giving the gift of a new pair of sneakers to children in need when you run or walk the Catie's Closet Virtual 5K. You can also go to Amazon to shop using their Wish List or make direct in kind or cash donations via their website.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

To learn about my 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, be sure to visit my website at</b>

My books are available on Amazon

Friday, September 25, 2020

Reflections on Virtual Races

The collective hearts of the running community ache for live races. We yearn for those pre-race hugs and high fives, seeing people we stay in contact with on Facebook but often only see in person at starting lines and post-race celebrations. We love to test our mettle racing against ourselves and the clock.

But as Amby Burfoot said:

The pandemic has tested our mettle in ways we could never have imagined. We yearn for a sense of normalcy to return to our lives and the lives of those we love. This morning's Boston Globe had a great article, "As we adjust to a new normal, lessons in grief and gratitude."

While we continue to mourn live events and all the joy that accompanies live events, I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to participate in virtual events, support great causes and honor traditions for annual events. As Kara Baskin points out, it's okay to mourn whatever we are missing in our lives right now from that mocha latte you grab on the morning commute to loved ones who lost their lives in the pandemic.

Here's our line up of Virtual Races:

Tomorrow we pin on our bibs for Catie's Closet.

Our daughter volunteered with Catie's Closet to help sort clothes and toiletries that provide dignity to school age children living in poverty. With COVID-19, their needs are even greater this year. While there is no on site sorting of clothes, we discovered their Virtual 5K. The entry fee provides a new pair of sneakers to children living in poverty in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Virtual Event continues through September 30th. Be sure to visit their website and consider making a cash or in kind donation. Lace up your sneakers so kids can lace up theirs!

The first 10K race Ruth Anne and I ran was the Tufts 10K for women now named the Boston 10K For Women. What great memories we hold in our heart from October 2009 when we ran our fastest time on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon and celebrated the 10K distance. Since 2009, I paced a friend to the finish line of her first 10K and ran my own PR in 2014.

Ruth Anne will be running her Virtual Boston 10K for Women on Columbus Day.

While she won't be running the route that features spectacular views of the Charles River and Boston as it loops around Cambridge and goes back into Boston, we will embrace the tradition of a race that holds many cherished memories for us.

Tom and I will loop the Reservoir in the opposite direction from Ruth Anne to run out Run for Ruth-We Dissent 5K.

Ruth Anne will use the 10K miles to log as part of her 87 mile challenge that will end on 11/3.

As part of Run for Ruth, runners get to donate to a charity that supports women's rights.

On 11/1, Tom and Ruth Anne will take to the 2nd half of the Boston Marathon course to run the Harvest Half Virtual Marathon.

Rather than do the Cape Cod Half Marathon as a Virtual Race, they deferred their race entries to 2021.

But they were psyched for a fall marathon. We did a search for Virtual Half Marathons. Ruth Anne was so excited to have the opportunity to support the Brentwood YMCA in Middle Tennessee where she attended Middle Tennessee State University as an undergrad.

The YMCA Race Series benefits the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of children and teens, improves community health and well-being and supports people in need right in our own neighborhood.

By participating in the race, you're making an enduring, lasting impact in your community by giving everyone, regardless of age, income or background, the opportunities they need to learn, grow and thrive.

One of our favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions is running or volunteering at the Feaster Five 5K/5 Mile race hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders.

There would be a 3 day Expo leading up to race day where we would experience the festivities of giving thanks and celebrating the holiday season with runner friends who are like family.

We are registered for the 5K which we will run in our neighborhood while the Thanksgiving turkey cooks. We will gather in social media to share our photos and give thanks for the gift of running in our lives.

There will be no live Jingle Bell Run events this year. This is the first year since 2015, that we are not training to travel to and run in Bermuda. I presume there will be no Camp Hyannis aka Hyannis Marathon Weekend this year and even the 2021 Boston Marathon is in question. We are hopeful that the Falmouth Road Race and Cape Cod Marathon Weekends will be able to return next year.

Yet, for the foreseeable future, Virtual Races will be the order of the day and Team McManus will continue to be a part of the Virtual Races community supporting great causes and using them to keep our passion and deep gratitude and appreciation for the sport alive and well!

To learn more about my journey to the sport of running after having been diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease, be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon

To your health and well being
From my heart to yours

Thursday, September 24, 2020

"They said..."

Yesterday my most liked photo from 2016 popped up in my memories!

"They" said I never should have started running as a survivor of paralytic polio and the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome even though I crossed the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon. "They" said, after a serious knee injury in December of 2014 that I needed to stop running and prepare for a total knee replacement. "They" were wrong and I went on to run Bermuda Half Marathons 2016, 2017 and 2018. Here I am at mile 11 in 2016.

I feel compassion for physicians and allied health professions who profess what is and is not possible. I was blessed to have had a physical therapist who did not subscribe to the conventional wisdom of "If you use it you will lose it" as a survivor of paralytic polio and the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome. She told me through her treatment plan for and with me, in her words and actions that I was not destined to spend my life in a wheelchair as was the message I received from the treatment team at the International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio 13 years ago.

In Dr. Joe Dispenza's book, You Are the Placebo, and in Dr. David Hamilton's' book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body" they cite examples of how the power of the mind influences the body. In Dr. Joe's book, he gives numerous examples of how a diagnosis and prognosis were given for a terminal illness and the body responded to their timetable. However upon autopsy there was no disease found! They also share the science behind the power of belief and imagination in being able to heal the body.

After that knee injury in December of 2014, I returned to the physiatrist who treated me initially for Post Polio to see what needed to be healed but quickly asked for Divine Guidance for healing. I was blessed to find my way to a chiropractor who believed as I did in the body's tremendous capacity for healing. We partnered together to get me back on the roads using chiropractic, KT taping to support the knee during healing and in growing a new gastroc muscle that had atrophied during the initial bout of paralytic polio. I learned about the atrophied gastroc muscle from the MRI and while "they said" there was nothing I could do about it, my chiropractor and I said "Let's give it a go."

I understand where those who say with such conviction a diagnosis and prognosis are coming from. Until my nurse at the Brigham and Women's Hospital introduced me to Dr. Bernie Siegel I believed what "they said".

So here's to those who say that they may be able to open their hearts, minds and eyes to see what is possible.

And here's to those who have believed what "they said"...may you be open to healing, hope and possibilities!

To learn more about my inspiring journey and to explore healing resources be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

My Favorite Running Route - Well Worth the Wait!

Perhaps what I yearned for most during these past 6 months of the pandemic was running by the ocean in South Boston. We did one run along Wollaston Beach but it was low tide. We had to bob and weave to social distance and avoid bicycles and skateboards. While I was grateful to see the expansiveness of the ocean, it wasn't the same as hearing and seeing the waves crash against the rocks and running right along the ocean.

We haven't been to Cape Cod this summer where we often enjoy running and racing along the beach in Falmouth.

With the unofficial end of summer on Labor Day Weekend, we deemed it safe to return to Carson Beach and run out to the JFK Library and U Mass Boston.

The weather although a bit chilly and windy at first was perfect.

The sea air invigorated me and I had one of my best 5K times in a very long time.

I breathed deeply and savored the sights, scents and sounds of a late summer's day in Boston.

While I always appreciate my running as a gift and never take a mile for granted, Saturday's run filled my heart with overwhelming gratitude and brought me to tears.

It was 6 long months of waiting to return to our favorite running route ... It was well worth the wait!

Saturday's run inspired me to write this poem from the soon to be released: Hope: A Collection of Essays and Poems From the Pandemic of 2020:
My Soul Settles By The Sea

Running in tandem with waves
my soul settles by the sea
seagulls soaring
seeing Divine's creations
sun sparkles
sprinkling white caps dotting deep blue
steady breath
scent of briny air
sounds of water lapping shore
surrounded by beauty.

Stress dissolves
each footstep bids farewell to troubles
joy bubbles from the depths
Divine Love
heart overflows
refreshment for mind and body.

Once shackled
unbridled from unfathomable past
wounds healed
wind whispers
“Run my child
set yourself free”
my soul settles by the sea.

To learn more about my inspiring journey from the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome 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

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Believing is Seeing: Dawn of a New Day

I begin every morning with a meditation after I open the shades and let the light of a new day enter my room.

Yesterday's sunrise was spectacular and inspired a poem:

Dawn of a New Day from the soon to be released Hope: A Collection of Essays and Poems From the Pandemic of 2020:

Dawn of a new day
radiant morning light
a kiss to awaken

Daybreak whisks away yesterday’s cobwebs of worry
greeting new day with a heart full of gratitude
possibilities await on the horizon

How will you paint the Masterpiece of today
each moment an opportunity to reveal and revel

Bask in the Love of the Divine
Rejoice in the dawn of a new day!

I reflected on the wonder and awe of creation in the world and in my corner of the Universe.

By all appearances and predictions from the medical community, I 'should' have been sitting in a wheelchair right now with all kinds of adaptive equipment to support a neuromuscular system deemed headed on a rapid decline. It was called Post Polio Syndrome and was the result of the late effects of having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5. While paralytic polio is a devastating virus that impacts the spinal cord, brain and connections between nerves and muscles, it can be healed (as can any disease) given the right environment. Unfortunately, the environment I lived in growing up was rife with violence and anything but conducive to healing and recovery.

At the age of 53 I had an incredible opportunity to heal my life with the crisis of that diagnosis.

I got still, asked for Divine Guidance and harnessed the power of my imagination through writing poetry. I saw and felt a future very different from the one that the Western Medical model predicted for me. I healed my past with poems of gratitude and forgiveness.
In my meditations, I visualized the Divine as my Master Electrician rewiring my body. I worked my body in new ways under the guidance of a physical therapist who believed in the body's innate capacity to heal and then with a personal trainer who subscribed to Henry Ford's mantra of whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.

Despite all appearances, I believed in my mind's eye that I could and would run the 2009 Boston Marathon:

Before February of 2008, I had never run a day in my life!

In December of 2014, my left knee blew out. I briefly returned to Western Medicine to see what needed to be healed. As expected, the prognosis was grim but I refused to be grim.

After an epic fail with a physical therapist, the Universe led me to an amazing chiropractor. He gave me a new strength training program, chiropractic treatments, KT tape and new mind/body healing resources to get me back on the roads and continue my forward momentum in my healing journey.

I went on to run Half Marathons in Bermuda in 2016, 2017 and 2018!

Every dawn is a new day; an opportunity to see ourselves and the world the way we want things to be. It is so easy to get pulled in the undertow of catastrophic news and the rancor in the political landscape. I start my day with imagining what headlines I would like to read and transform raging fires, devastating hurricanes and the raging fear of a pandemic into a world where Mother Nature is in balance, where people focus on their health and well being and where inevitable storms that are a part of life are no longer catastrophic in nature.

I know that together we can create a new world order; that these recent months of navigating our way through turbulent times will lead us to a better place.

You may wonder how can she hold onto hope and optimism when, by all appearances, everything is falling apart...My answer to that question is that believing is seeing!

To learn more about my inspiring journey and explore healing resources, be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon

From my heart to yours
to your health and well being

Monday, September 14, 2020

Welcome to Marathon Monday - Saturday Edition

I've lived in Boston since 1971, a transplanted New Yorker and have always felt a connection to the Boston Marathon. Since crossing its finish line on April 20, 2009 just 3 years after having been told I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair after the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, the Boston Marathon is a part of my heart and soul.

I was blessed to be a member of a panel, "Late Life Running and Whole Life Running," at this year's Virtual Boston Marathon Expo

and support crew for our dear friend Rachel Glazer last Saturday:

This was the final weekend of the Twelve Days of the Boston Marathon.

We decided to get our 5K in on Heartbreak Hill with the hope that we might see a Virtual Runner or two out on the course.

The Hills were alive with the Spirit of the Boston Marathon. Charity Teams were advised to not run on the course and finish at Boylston Street, but Tedy's Team was very creative in creating an out and back route that took them from the Boston Common to the Newton Hills and back for a finish at the Boston Common.

There was a DJ blaring music, cheering on the runners saying, "Welcome to Marathon Monday - Saturday Edition."

Charity teams' support crews and family members lined the marathon route.

On our outbound route we encountered Dana Farber's Unicorn:

There were hydration stations set up with a wide selection of foods to fuel the runners:

while blue and yellow balloons and ribbons lined the course like a hashtag for #bostonstrong and #finishstrong.

We discovered that it is quite challenging to simultaneously be a spectator and a runner. We got in our miles but the pace was slowed by the need to social distance while cheering on those incredible virtual Boston Marathon runners who experienced a historic longest training season ever that extended from January to September.

The only other time I experienced the intensity of the Spirit of the Boston Marathon was in 2014. Just as the bombs stopped runners in their tracks on 4/15/13, so too did the pandemic stop runners in their tracks. Half of the runners who were registered for the 2020 Boston Marathon took on the challenge of a Virtual Boston Marathon around the globe. The BAA, and Conventures, Inc., under the leadership of T.K. Skenderian made sure that even though the world couldn't come to Boston, Boston would go to the world.

A hawk soared above; a harbinger of hope and a message from Spirit to see things from a higher perspective rather than feeling the constraints of the current reality.

We took our traditional photo of the Johnny Kelley statue and our selfie.

As we drove home, we honked and cheered on runners along Heartbreak Hill and Beacon Street.

Tomorrow wraps up the Twelve Days of the Boston Marathon 2020.

We don't know when there will be the next Boston Marathon. September registration is on hold for now while a panel convenes to develop a plan.

There were many "Marathon Mondays" shared and celebrated in Boston and around the world during these 12 days.

Team McManus was thrilled to be a part of the Saturday edition on Heartbreak Hill. While our hearts were broken with the news that the Marathon would be postponed, then cancelled, then made into a virtual event, we rose above with resilience and strength as we in the Boston Strong community have always done and will continue to do.

To be inspired and motivated by my health and wellness journey from having been told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair to the finish line of the Boston Marathon and beyond, be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

My Monday Morning Run

Ruth Anne and I were having a rough start to our Monday morning run. Despite the clear blue sky, sunshine and moderate temperatures, Ruth Anne was feeling very anxious about her upcoming appointment with her primary care provider and meeting with professors via Zoom for her Masters Degree Program at U Mass Boston in Urban Planning and Community Development that begins in January.

As can so often happen with anxiety and trauma, Ruth Anne couldn't directly express herself. We were both frustrated and almost decided to part ways but we hung tough together knowing we had not come so far to only get this far.

I quietly asked the Divine for guidance during the silence. I felt Spirit speak to me, 'Run!' I turned to Ruth Anne and said, 'Come on. We need to get in some speed work.' I took off and she followed saying, "Whoa Ma. You can't run that fast!" as she tracked me at a 12 minute mile on her Garmin. We hadn't done speed work in what seemed like forever although we had been doing tempo runs but certainly not at that pace.

We did a fartlek to the next bench and while we stood breathless, something magical happened. After we broke out into a fast run, Ruth Anne was able to pour her heart out to me. It was one of those magical moments that can only happen during a run.

We decided to do fartleks with a sense of play and joy while capturing the end of summer sensational scenes:

We breathed deeply and problem solved making mental notes of what we wanted to write on our jotter on our refrigerator for affirmations and gratitudes.

We each felt a sense of contentment and accomplishment leaving yesterday's problems in the dust (or in this case in the gravel on the path around the Reservoir) and experienced a magnificent Monday filled with possibilities. We imagined her receiving a clean bill of health from her PCP along with his being in awe of her transformation from last year. That is exactly what happened this morning at her appointment. When we whisk away our fears and replace them with affirmations and imagining what we want rather than focusing on the anxiety of what we don't want, we get to create rather than react to our lives! Running provides a powerful vehicle to move beyond fears and step into a new future.

To be inspired by my journey from a 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
In health and wellness