Saturday, October 10, 2020

It's a Sign - Signing Off On My Blog After 12 Years

On October 22, 2008 I wrote my first blog post on Healing, Hope and Possibility.

 Two interns from the Boston Unversity School of Public Communication taught me about social media and how to start a blog.

 Healing, Hope and Possibility transformed into Going the Distance   which eventually morphed into The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953.

My blog chronicles my journey on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond. I harnessed the power of the mind/body connection to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma. My blog takes you on my incredible journey from shortly after the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease to training for and crossing the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and along the many twists and turns that life takes us on.

I experienced set backs and come backs and been both an observer and participant in chronicling the world around us. I have been absolutely delighted to share them all with you and am so deeply grateful for the readership and feedback I received through the years.

When I signed on to write yesterday's blog, there was a new format and a text editor that was unwieldy to use. There was no way to revert to the old blogger. I went into a discussion group about the changes to see if I was missing something and everyone was imploring google to bring back the old blogger but we were told that due to the infrastructure of Google and blogspot we would have to use the new format.

I have been tapering how often I blog for about a year now and have been wondering if perhaps it was time to end my blog.

It took me several hours to get yesterday's blog finished and posted.

It was a sign that it was time to sign off of my blog for now.

I am writing my next book, "Hope: A Collection of Poems and Essays From the Pandemic of 2020" and will of course be continuing to inspire and uplift with my Facebook posts. You can stay up to date on News and Events and the latest information I have to share by visiting my website at and my books are available on Amazon

Thank you all for your love and support through these 12 years!

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,


Friday, October 9, 2020

Poetry in Motion


October 1st was National Poetry Day. I discovered the gift of poetry in my soul in February of 2007 after the diagnosis of the progressive neuromuscular disease Post Polio Syndrome in December of 2006.


I got still and asked for Divine Guidance seeking the answer to the question what's next in my life? I knew I was at a crossroads and had no idea what would be next for me in my life's journey. I was at the height of my award winning career as a VA social worker and was told that if I had any hope of maintaining the progression of symptoms where they were, I needed to leave work. I was told that I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and expect a rapid decline in functioning as I aged. I was given a list of resources to consider either making my Cape home handicapped accessible or move to a ranch style house.


I was scared, depressed, anxious and yet oddly enough hopeful that somehow a new path would be made clear to me if I allowed the Divine to guide me.


As I sat in a leg brace using a cane, a toe up leg brace and at times a wheelchair for mobility, this poem flowed out of me:

Running the Race


Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year

Everyone around me filled with nervous fear

Despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear

The polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.

Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird

I dropped to the ground just like a stone

and no one said a word.

The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse

"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.

Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'

But with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.

Miss Holly physical therapist,

curly hair and a warm, broad smile

It tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.


I always wore those 'special' shoes

the kids they poked and teased

With no support and much abuse

with childhood I wasn't pleased.

But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could

I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.

Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give

I accepted the limp and everything else

and decided my life I would live.

But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow

I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.


Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day

Suffered in silence, isolated from friends-

trying to keep depression at bay.

And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide

I discovered there was a Post Polio team

and they were on my side.


Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,

Resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.

Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace

While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.

Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free

For the first time in life, I could truly be me.

The chains are gone and possibilities abound

I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.

I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine

So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.

After all these years I can join the loving human race

I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.


Poems flowed out of me as if a spigot turned on in my soul. I was healing the past through poems of forgiveness, gratitude and embracing the challenges of paralytic polio and trauma from my childhood while creating a future very different from the ones the doctors predicted for me. My pen became my divining rod for healing!


This collection of poems can be found in "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life".




Through the sport of running and crossing the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon, I became a woman transformed from victim of my past to a thriver experiencing the fullness of life free from the shackles of my past. My life became poetry in motion.


This past March, with the onset of the pandemic in the US, I once again turned to my divining rod for healing. I am creating my next book Hope: A Collection of Poems and Essays from the Pandemic of 2020. I open my heart and soul to receive messages that will uplift and inspire others noting how creation can help us navigate the most challenging times in our lives.


May we all move through life as poetry in motion.


From my heart to yours

In health and wellness



Be sure to visit my website at


My books are available on Amazon

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Foliage, Flowers, and Family on a Fun Run

Running is an integral part of Team McManus' life. We cannot imagine a Saturday morning without filling up the water bottles, putting on our fuel belts and choosing a route to enjoy together unplugged and tuning into the rhythm of life.

We get to experience the change of seasons embracing the beauty and the challenges that each season in New England has to offer. While the transition from Winter to Spring is my favorite change of season, I have come to celebrate and find the joy in every season.

We chose Heartbreak Hill for Saturday's 5K run.

There is a house right before Center Street and Commonwealth Avenue on the Carriage Road that has the most beautiful gardens.

We saw an older woman, the keeper of her beautiful gardens lovingly tend her flowers. What a wonderful start to our run!

The trees are just beginning to change colors and many leaves lined the carriage road.

We paused to take our selfie:

We bantered about what foods we are looking forward to preparing this Autumn and Winter and had to pause to take this picture:

We cherished our time together expressing what we are grateful for as we get ready to embrace the season of Thanksgiving.

We shared our feelings about the pandemic and how so much has changed. There is no Heartbreak Hill Run Club with runners conquering the Newton Hills and then gathering in the store celebrating runs and plans for upcoming races. There are no high fives and great job as we'd pass familiar faces or just smile at runners passing by. We talked about the upcoming election and our energy shifted from sadness to optimism and hope.

While there may be so much sadness and heartache in the world, through running, we are able to find our way to celebrate life and appreciate the beauty of the season with foliage, flowers and family fun time.

To learn more about my journey from being told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair in December of 2006 to the finish line of the 2009 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

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Let's Be Adventurous!

Before the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome in December of 2006, I would not be described as an adventurous person. I clung to safety and to routine which was no easy feat after giving birth to twins in 1987. Having grown up in a violent household, taking risks and being bold were not a way of life that I could embrace. I lived on the edge for far too many years.

But after the diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease, I was at a crossroads in my life. The old ways were challenged as the walls of my past came crumbling down as I wrote poetry and opened my heart to forgiveness, gratitude, healing, hope and possibilities!

As the howling wind rustled the trees outside and rain pelted against my window in yesterday's early morning hours, I hoped that the weather would subside enough so we could get in our morning 5K.

We vowed that unless there were a blizzard outside, we would not run on a treadmill.

The rain and wind miraculously stopped at 9am when the forecast predicted it would!

The clouds were breaking as the sun tried to peek through the grey overcast day.

As we were getting ready to head out on our run, we had the great debate.

"Should we bring our jackets?"

"No I think it's going to clear!"

"What does the forecast say?"

I finally declared, 'Let's be adventurous and go without our jackets.'

It was unseasonably warm for the last day in September. We expressed our gratitude for being able to still go out in shorts and a t shirt.

When we arrived at The Reservoir, Ruth Anne commented on how mysterious the water looked after the storm.

The wind left gentle waves on the water in its wake with a blue green hue to the water.

We savored these moments together and being together in nature:

Geese lined the path and we played dodge the geese and the puddles on our run.

"Hey mom..look we have the whole place to ourselves."

"That's because people were afraid of the forecast."

"But not us."

We took our mid run selfie:

As we finished our lap around the Reservoir, Ruth Anne spotted ominous looking clouds in the sky. Being the eternal optimist I said, "Oh don't worry. They are moving out."

And that is why I am not a meteorologist!

A few raindrops quickly turned into a deluge about a half mile from the end of our run at our house.

The only thing to do was to laugh and splash in the puddles that quickly formed around our feet.

Ruth Anne was quick to remind me, as she does whenever we get caught in a downpour, "Well you had that image of splashing in the puddles after you were diagnosed."

Ruth Anne referenced the poem, "Come Out and Play" from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":

One night I had a dream that I came out of my leg brace and was splashing around in the rain much like Gene Kelly did in Singin’ in the Rain. When I woke up, I penned this poem:

Come Out and Play

Arms flung open wide dancing in the rain
pure abiding joy to feel alive again
healing tears fall and blend in God’s puddle
no time to sit in a corner and huddle
all the old rules driven by fears
washed away now by God’s loving tears
the imprint dad left no longer remains
rain washes away all of the stains
baptized with love, Truth lights my way
the sun shines through on this rainy day
splashing and laughing my heart opens wide
embracing and flowing I’m one with the tide
God takes my hand release the old way
bathe in my glory come out and play!

I was happy we didn't bring jackets or hats. I loved experiencing the delightful feeling or running through the rain, of getting soaked to the skin; a simple pleasure that I never knew as a child. I had never run a day in my life before the age of 53. The medical community would have me believe that, as a survivor of paralytic polio, I was fragile and needed to take special precautions avoiding the elements lest I end up with a fracture or pneumonia.

But for me...that's not living! As Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."

Here is our post we are soaked to the skin selfie:

Intrigued by my journey to health and wellness after the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome? Be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
To great adventures in living