Sunday, May 29, 2022

A Run in My Happy Place

 



After I received the 2nd dose of the COVID vaccine last May, I experienced intense muscle spasms and joint pain. I had done everything to prepare for the wellness shot including bringing a crystal with me, meditation and lots of hydration. I still don't know why I had this reaction but what is important is how I manage it. Team McManus has had an intense year filled with wondrous joyful exhilarating experiences and stressful times as we navigated Tom's leave taking from Boston College and next steps for the next season of Ruth Anne's hebeialth and wellness journey. 

I took some time to rest, hope and heal I increased my meditation visualization practice using Dr. David Hamilton's meditations from his website and Personal Development Club.

He did a session called "Counter Clockwise" for his Personal Development Club. He recommended reading the book which talks about how the power of the mind and environment affect our body's response to aging. An experiment was performed with sending men on a retreat for a week during which there were no reminders of their current age and year. Everything was arranged to the year 1959. They were transformed to experience greater health and vitality no longer treated as elderly parents and insulated from reminders of how old they were.

I knew the importance of being able to embody the way I want to be rather than focus on aches, pains and weakness. I realized that on some level I had embodied being a 68 year old polio and trauma survivor rather than embody the vibrant 2009 Boston Marathon finisher and the resilient, strong woman that I morphed into after discovering the sport of running. During the Counter Clockwise session, David emphasized how important it is to not reminisce about our younger selves (or in my case the self who defied a diagnosis and a past rife with challenges) but to live as if we are that person right here, right now in the present moment.

We often went to Jamaica Pond to train for the 2009 Boston Marathon. Our personal trainer often had us do speed work. A student from BU's School of Communication was filming a documentary about me for a final project. He joined us for one of the Jamaica Pond training runs. During yesterday's run, as I ran by the once snow covered rocks that inspired the poem,

Courage 

The fear of ice and snow and slush embedded in my soul

a training run in winter - the path to Being whole.

A winter scene - Jamaica Pond - a feast for eyes' delight

to witness nature's splendor and behold this glorious sight.

 

A leaf - a tiny dancer - skating free without a sound

God's breath directs her movements as She guides her twirling 'round.

Families of ducks decide to walk or take a dip

a comedy of errors into icy water slip.

 

Branches now bejeweled though bare bend with loving Grace

sparkling diamonds' anchor water's surface hold in place.

God's hand a glove of glistening snow hugs rocks along the wall

their heads peek out reminding me I'm answering God's call.

 

A scene I'd never witness if I let my fear take hold

courage triumphed, steppin' out with footsteps sure and bold.

Knowing that the pain subsides and Spirit can prevail

the Marathon is beckoning - through those miles I shall sail. 

 

I harnessed the power of my imagination and visualization to take me back to the winter of 2009 training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. I thought about where we would have lunch after the run feeling how great the food would taste at a restaurant in Brookline Village.  I felt the pounding of my heart as I pushed my pace a little beyond what I'd been doing feeling how amazing it felt to run an 11:00 minute mile for a half mile with our personal trainer, Janine, setting the pace. A sense of exhilaration and freedom returned to my body and Being.I clocked the fastest run I'd had in a very long time with the brief fastest pace at 12:42. I had negative splits by 46 seconds for miles 2 and 3. All fear of what might have been happening in my body melted away with the sweat.

I savored the sights, sounds and scents of Jamaica Pond in the Spring:


I could not remember the last time I felt that wonderful after a run. We went to one of our favorite post run restaurants in Brookline Village. Tom, Ruth Anne  (who did their training run for the BAA 10K) and I shared our gratitude for the gift of running and healing in our lives. 

It was awesome how a run in my happy place brought so much healing and joy back into my life after several months of feeling stress, strain and a lot of pain. The power of the mind to heal and transform the body continues to amaze me as I celebrate 15 years of healing from the once devastating effects of paralytic polio and trauma.


From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

What is .... Synchronicity?

 


I was getting ready to log off of Facebook last night when I saw that I was tagged in a post:

Thank you, Mary McManus, for sharing your amazing story. Because of you, I got final Jeopardy. ❤️ This morning I woke up to a Facebook message from another friend: "I knew the answer to final jeopardy last night because of you. The answer was post-polio syndrome. Oddly enough, none of the contestants got it correct."

After seeing what my friends were talking about, I posted this as my Facebook status:

When you are celebrating 15 years of healing on 5/25 and last night's Final Jeopardy! answer was:


Mary: (quick on the buzzer) What is synchronicity?
Correct!
 
I am in awe of how the Universe works reminding me that there is a wonderful benevolent Source of intelligence that sends us nudges to remind us to open our hearts and be in the flow of life.
 
Throughout these past 15 years, I've been touched by grace through powerful synchronicity. One of my favorite stories involves the woman who tagged me in the Jeopardy post: {From The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953}:
 

That’s Why We Are the Greatest Sport            Camp Hyannis 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.

 

Paulie has been gracious and generous to offer me a table at the Expo to sell my books and inspire runners with my journey. The 2015 weekend was cancelled. It was a tough decision for any race director to make but treacherous weather conditions would have compromised the safety of the runners. I didn’t give a second thought about having a table at the 2016 Expo.  I was running the 10K and planned to focus my energies on the race.

 

A friend messaged me on Facebook. “I’m so excited you have a table at the Expo this year. I saw your name on the table. Can’t wait to see you!”

 

I grabbed my Hyannis Half Marathon medal, my Boston Marathon finisher photo and medal, the few books I had on hand and my business cards. At the last minute, I put my Bermuda Half Marathon finisher medal in the box.

 

During these past 15 years, the right people and resources presented themselves to me. Whenever I veered off my healing path, as happened after my nephew died by suicide in 2011, I was guided back to where I needed to be. Social media posts seem to jump off of the page as opportunities present themselves for me to share this miraculous journey. 


What a magnificent wink I received from the Universe last night when Final Jeopardy's answer begged the question, "What is Polio?"

 

From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon
 



 


Monday, May 23, 2022

On Taking Leaps of Faith-It's a No Brainer!

 

Fifteen years ago I was poised and ready to take a leap of faith into an unknown world. I'd worked since I was 15 years old. For 25 years I worked as a social worker except for 18 months after my twins were born. For almost 20 of those years, I got up at 5:30 in the morning, got my twins ready for the day, myself ready for work and worked from 8-4:30 at the Boston VA Outpatient Clinic.

Sadly I did not take my own advice that I often gave to other caregivers about how vital it is to take care of one's self. My burnout manifested as Post-Polio Syndrome. I was told that the only hope I had of stabilizing the symptoms where they were was to quit my award winning career and follow all of the recommendations of my treatment team. They recommended I adapt our Cape home or move to a ranch, energy conservation techniques, a leg brace and a cane and using a wheelchair for mobility over any long distances and being prepared to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair given the progressive nature of the disease. I was given a wrist splint for carpel tunnel syndrome. I declined the need for a sleep apnea machine. As much as I disliked a semi soft food diet with a chin tuck and dry swallow in between bites, I loathed not being able to have a conversation while eating. The left side of my esophagus was sluggish which put me at risk for aspiration pneumonia. I had experienced chronic bronchitis for years. 

"It's a no brainer," Tom said to me after hearing the prognosis and recommendation of the treatment team for me to leave work. I was so grateful for his unconditional love and support and how my twins rallied to support me as I began to navigate a very strange new world. I was the one dependent on others for care and support. For the first time in my life, I was dependent on Tom for financial support.

While I visualized a future very different from my past and very different from the ones the doctors predicted for me, the future that came to be was even more incredible than the one I imagined. Little by little, the symptoms of Post Polio Syndrome resolved. I hired a personal trainer to build on the outpatient rehab program I was given at discharge from Spaulding. I went on to transform my life through the sport of running crossing the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and going on to experience many adventures as runnergirl 1953. I inspire others with my journey and am so blessed and grateful to enjoy my life at the age of 68 years young.

Last summer, Tom experienced rather alarming physical symptoms. His doctor noted that they were consistent with a reaction to his 2nd vaccine that was probably exacerbated by stress. Tom's once fulfilling job at Boston College in IT became untenable with its demands and managers spiraling out of control with their demands. As Tom said to me 14 years earlier, "This is a no brainer." Ruth Anne and I insisted that he 'retire' from his role at BC and get a 'retirement' job to supplement our income. He hemmed and hawed feeling concerned about not having a full time job with benefits when I went into high gear harnessing my social work prowess to get health care in place. But he wasn't yet ready to take that leap of faith until the Universe intervened. Fortunately there was no major medical event to give him the nudge to leave. His manager put him on a Performance Improvement Plan. At the time it was a devastating blow given his incredible level of technical expertise and dedication to his job but now we are able to laugh at how ridiculous it was. So many fears came to the surface. Who would hire him at almost 70 years old even for part time work? Who would serve as a reference? What if we had emergency home repairs ... and so many many more what if's that now seem silly. 

There's a reason it's called a leap of faith.

All of Tom's physical symptoms resolved during this past year. His first contract job turned out to be not as advertised requiring him to be on-site with over an hour commute. We resumed job finding and what happened next was truly magical. I saw a job that I thought fit his qualifications on Indeed. He told me to go ahead and send in his resume. The next day, he received a call from the recruiter at the contracting company. The following week he was interviewed and because of state bureaucracy, it took several weeks before we received the word that he was hired on a 6 month contract! They now want to bring him on as a full time employee because he has brought so much talent to the table. Did he say yes?  It was a no brainer!



From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon



Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Wings of Transformation

There are so many wonderful quotes using the butterfly as a metaphor for transformation. Perhaps one of my favorites is by Maya Angelou:


 

Fifteen years ago today I sat in my 2nd floor office at the Boston VA Outpatient Clinic. Almost all of my personal belongings were at home in preparation for my last day leaving behind my award winning social work career. I was hoping to stay on for 3 more years until I was 'eligible' for retirement but realized that I was at a crossroads in my life and needed to choose a path. I chose the path of healing my life from the once devastating effects of childhood paralytic polio and trauma.

My schedule to see patients was sparse. I made many phone calls to let veterans and their families know of my impending departure and reassured them that there would be wonderful staff available to help them until my position was filled. Many patients and their families stopped by to say goodbye bearing beautiful thank you gifts. I reminded them of the many gifts they gave me by allowing me to be a part of their lives. 

I kept a journal on a yellow legal pad using it to visualize my life after the VA. I wrote in exquisite detail how I imagined my life as a NY Times Bestselling Author whose poetry touched the hearts and souls of many. My courageous journey of taking a leap of faith and all I endured in my life would inspire Oprah to have me as a guest on her show. I imagined meeting up with friends and potential clients for fancy lunches with my portfolio of "New World Greeting Cards: Original Poetry for Every Occasion." 

I incorporated what I am grateful for as part of the journal. 

While maintaining a brave, optimistic and hopeful demeanor about my future, a part of me was terrified! I used daily affirmations and worked to stay focused only on positive outcomes but it was a challenge to tune out the prognosis I had been given of a progressive neuromuscular disease. When I wrote poetry and focused on feeling as if I were already living in a healthy body, I literally felt no pain! But then the 'reality' of being in a leg brace, using a cane at times for mobility and being extremely deconditioned and limited in my functioning returned. 

I listened to my intuition and had this incredible sense of faith and trust that I made the right decision to leave the stress of my career. Fortunately, my husband and children supported me in all ways.

I read my poetry and shared my story at assisted living facilities as a way to ease my transition from my social work career which is all I had known for the past 25 years. I met amazing people along the way.

In October of 2007, one of my veteran volunteers who had become a good friend, introduced me to Janine Hightower who was starting her in home personal training business. She was a member of BNI, Business Networking International and my veteran wanted us to meet to see how we could network to grow each other's business. But as we sat there, I wasn't focused on my business but rather her in home personal training business Boston Homebodies.

I asked her if she thought she could help me to build on the outpatient therapy program I received from Spaulding. After my first session with her, I could barely move but I knew that if I were going to experience pain, I'd rather experience pain on the side of healing.

It required a great deal of patience and struggle to move out of the body of a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and trauma and reclaim my earthly home. When one looks at the picture of me at the 2009 Boston Marathon finish line:

you would never know the hours of struggle and pain both emotional and physical that I went through on that journey of transformation. The freedom and unbridled joy I experienced to have received my wings of transformation that day and that help me to continue to fly free as I was always meant to be made the journey worthwhile. I haven't yet had my books on the New York Times bestseller list but when I receive heartwarming reviews from my readers, I feel as though I have achieved that status. I haven't been a guest on Oprah but have been blessed to share my journey with many podcasters, radio talk show hosts and guest speaker at events. I was featured on a Channel 7 news piece. Visit the News and Events tab on my website to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews. I was blessed to have my story shared in Dr. David Hamilton's "Tenth Edition of How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body" and be a guest on his Hay House Radio Show. While I imagined many wonderful things happening in my life, what came to be was far more incredible than what I wrote about on my yellow legal pad in anticipation of my last day at the VA fifteen years ago.


From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon
 

Friday, May 6, 2022

I Still Remember....

As I prepare to celebrate the 15th anniversary of when I took a leap of faith from my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, I was moved to remember the days I prayed for the blessings I now have in my life.

I've never been a pedicure kind of gal and one of the things I asked my then physical therapist, Allison Poole, was how I could cut my own toenails. I was so stiff and deconditioned that I couldn't use a toe nail clipper to cut my own toenails! This morning I felt my heart open in gratitude for being able to do this simple act. In 2007, this was no simple act for me to perform.

My bathroom had a tub seat because I was unable to stand in the shower without fatigue. I had a toe up leg brace to support the atrophied muscles in my left leg.


 


Tom would help me attach the brace to my shoes.



I hugged the banister to walk from the first floor of my house and would limit the number of trips I made from the first to the second floor. My family did the laundry because it was too much for me to walk downstairs to the basement. We used PeaPod for grocery delivery. I wore a wrist splint to manage the symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome. Although I implemented strategies for energy conservation at work, I was tired ALL THE TIME. No matter how much sleep I got, I was exhausted all the time. It was a classic case of burnout not knowing how to practice self-care as I cared for veterans and their families and my family.

In February of 2007, after having been given the diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease the previous December, I realized I was at a crossroads in my life. I got still. As I did whenever faced with dire circumstances in my life, I asked for Divine Guidance. The poem, "Running the Race" poured out of me and, despite the dire diagnosis and prognosis, my heart opened to gratitude.

"...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.

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."

Partnering with Allison at Spaulding Rehab, I believed I was no longer destined  to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, nor was it a foregone conclusion that I would experience an accelerated aging process as a result of the paralytic polio I contracted as a child. Poetry inspired me to heal mind, body and soul while working with Allison to heal the breach in my mind/body connection. Using a biofeedback machine she showed me the physical stress of my job at the VA. We asked the VA to order adaptive equipment for me to diminish the physical stress because I was determined to work for 3 more years until I was eligible for retirement. The Universe clearly had other plans for me. 

After an abnormal mammogram, I focused my energies on dissolving the lump in my breast and realized it was time to leave my award winning career. When I returned for a repeat mammogram, the lump was no longer there! They said that it must have been a mistake on the original film but after receiving the call that they needed to repeat the film, I felt the lump, knew it was no mistake and the Universe saying "This is your wake up call!" When I received the all clear, Ruth Anne said what are you waiting for? We chose the date 5/25 as my last day at the VA. I gave my 6 weeks notice and while feeling terrified at what I was about to do, I could feel the healing happening every day in mind, body and soul.

At 68 years old I feel fantastic. I can go to the grocery store, exercise 5 days a week, walk up and down stairs with ease, get a good night's sleep on most nights and wake up feeling energized and ready to greet the day. I take time for meditation and self-care. I practice an attitude of gratitude knowing how blessed I am with this miracle of healing. I have a powerful message of healing, hope and possibility to share as a 2009 Boston Marathon finisher, and a woman who took a leap of faith to heal and transform her life. It is my fervent hope and prayer that my journey can give hope to those dealing with Long COVID. The symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome and Long COVID are eerily similar.


 

This morning I smiled after I cut my toenails and my heart swelled with gratitude. I still remember the days I prayed for the blessings I have now.

From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Every Finish Line is a Starting Line: Reflections on an Epic Race-cation

 


Whether being a runner or a spectator, the experience of a race weekend is exhilarating. It has been two years since we have been able to feel the energy and sense of community that is part of a race-cation. Last November, while I was writing "Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic," I asked Ruth Anne what she thought the arc of my story should be. Without hesitation she said, "After we cross the finish line of the Providence Marathon next May." Initially, that didn't feel quite right to me but here we are. It feels as though we have crossed the finish line of the pandemic and Ruth Anne has crossed the finish line of a season of healing in her life. 

During the pre-Boston Marathon festivities last October, Ruth Anne planned to run the Boston Marathon in April for Spaulding Rehab. Applications would open in December. Once we had a proper diagnosis and treatment for Ruth Anne and she was on the road to recovery, Ruth Anne fell in love with volunteering at ReVision Urban Farm. She created a birthday fundraiser for me in December of 2020 and continued fund raising for her birthday in August of 2021. Eve Rabinowitz, the Corporate and Community Engagement Manager for Victory Programs reached out to Ruth Anne last November. She noted that she knew Ruth Anne was involved with different causes and might not have the time, but would she consider doing a Friends Feeding Friends fundraiser. Ruth Anne took a pause on running Boston and talked with Eve about running the Providence Marathon to raise money for Victory Programs and the Farm. Eve was ecstatic and set up her fundraising page with an initial goal of $3000.

As serendipity would have it, Brian Simons who I knew through Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab Team was launching his Coaching Business, Creaky Bones: Running-Coaching-Performance. He was establishing a new business and Team McManus needed a coach. In early December, we partnered with Brian and Creaky Bones.

After a 15 mile training run which was preceded by Tom shoveling us out from a snowstorm and several weeks after a 9 mile training run on the treadmill, Tom powered through but ended up sideways and in a lot of pain. We decided that a full marathon was not in the stars but a half marathon would become the goal. Coach adjusted the training plan. Victory Programs was all in with the change and our village was incredibly supportive about the change in distance.

They trained with heart, dedication, persistence and determination and race day was epic!

We drove to Providence, went to bib pick up:

 and our room at the Omni Providence was ready for an early check in. We had never been to Providence before and it was challenging to navigate our way around since people encouraged us to use the sky walk from the hotel to the mall. We eventually found our way to Uno Pizzeria (and found a penny along the way)

We were so happy to get off of our feet back in the room. We unpacked and had a long meditation/nap. We went downstairs to get bottles of sparkling water and the once quiet and subdued lobby was bustling with activity. Runners had their gear in tow and we were asking one another, "What are you running tomorrow." We were thrilled with our early check in and a room on the 3rd floor where we could hunker down with room service and relaxation.

The beauty of the setting sun bode well for race day:

Rise and shine at 5:45 to allow for plenty of time for breakfast, pre-race bathroom time (runners will appreciate the importance of that step), and walking to the starting line. Throngs of runners lined the streets on the path to the starting line. We arrived in time to hear the start of the marathon and take pre-race photos.












"Look! There's Brian," Ruth Anne shouted. He came running over to us. I love how we're able to find people in a crowd of over 2000 runners:











Brian's presence helped to calm pre-race jitters especially for me as a spectator. We sent Tom and Ruth Anne off to the back of the pack and Brian and I waited at the start to cheer them on their 13.1 journey:

 
 
Brian helped me to get set up at the finish line while he went out to find a spot to cheer them on out on the course:

 
I sent out lots of great energy for Tom and Ruth Anne while reading the social media messages of cheers and prayers. I was a little unnerved when I received a text saying Ruth Anne crossed the finish at 8:04 with a course time of 2:04:43 and a pace of 9:32. Right after I received the text, Eve (who was coming down with Chief Development Office Deborah Edison to cheer on Tom and Ruth Anne at the finish) texted me asking if that was correct. I told her no worries, they just started, I did not expect to receive a text with an update and knew I just had to trust in their training and of course the Divine. 

What a very pleasant surprise to receive a text with an update at the 10K letting me know that Tom and Ruth Anne were running a 14:46 minute/mile pace. I immediately texted Brian who responded with, "Perfect. I found a great spot at Mile 11."

I was getting a little anxious as I calculated the pace and how far they had to go to Mile 11 (never a good idea) and asked Brian if he saw them. "Not yet," he replied, "Soon." He let me know that they were back on the roads after Mile 11 with smiles and were slowed down by Porta-potty stops but reassured me they were looking strong. "They're walking," he added letting me know that they slowed their pace. They had planned to do a run/walk interval. By mile 11, Tom was feeling the miles.

Brian sent me this photo:

Eve texted me to say they arrived but she couldn't find me. The crowd of spectators had grown thick by then as runners began to cross the finish line. "I'm wearing the red Victory Programs shirt," she texted and within a minute we found each other. I was so grateful that I did not have to wait alone during those last 2.1 miles. Another friend texted that they were on their way but were having trouble parking. "Have they crossed yet?" Karen asked. A moment before I received her text, Ruth Anne texted me with, "One mile to go." The text came sooner than I expected!

We all had our cameras ready to capture the epic moment. Brian was able to capture the announcement:

I wasn't sure if my video even came out because I was so overcome with emotion:


I love how they high-fived and embraced. Tom and Ruth Anne made their way over to us. It was as though the runners and spectators around us faded into the background while Tom, Ruth Anne, Eve, Deborah, Brian, Karen and her husband Chris excitedly talked with each other. Karen said this was such a great opportunity to check off seeing Tom and me. We were about to get together before the pandemic. Karen said she has a list of people on her "we were planning to get together list and then the pandemic happened." We plan to get together this summer in Providence. Deborah and Eve regaled us with gratitude and compliments and yet Ruth Anne thanked them for this amazing opportunity. 

They presented us with these beautiful track jackets embroidered with Victory Programs on them:


 


Our hearts overflowed with love, gratitude, joy, excitement for the accomplishment of running a half marathon and exhilaration for an incredibly successful fundraising campaign. 

Ruth Anne said that crossing that finish line would be the beginning of a new season in her life. The journey on the Road to Providence for Victory Programs awakened within her a gift, a passion and a purpose that Deborah would like to support and nourish. Ruth Anne scoured the internet for programs to further her education and for career exploration. While she started a program at Boston College for a Masters in Leadership and Administration, it wasn't feeding her heart and soul. Deborah suggested she get a certificate in Professional Fundraising at Boston University. Who knew such a thing existed? 

Every finish line is a starting line! Ruth Anne is so excited to pursue her passion in this next season of her life. Tom feels incredibly vibrant and energized by being able to run a half marathon at 70 and plans a return appearance with Ruth Anne next year. A year ago, Tom felt 'old' but he realized he still had a LOT of life left in him. He left his job where he was under appreciated and experienced age discrimination and is doing contract work. Training for this race gave him that extra boost he needed to feel healthy and younger than his biological age. He enters a new season in his life with great anticipation of perhaps winning his age group (he came in 7/8) and enjoying these later years of his life.

I was transformed through their journey and being a part of the racing scene again. We are emerging from the pandemic into the light stronger and more resilient than before the pandemic began. I am celebrating 15 years of healing this month. On 5/25/2007, I set off on a new season of my life taking a leap of faith leaving behind my award winning social work career to heal my life. 

It's a time of wondrous and wonderful happenings that was reflected in conversations overheard after the race. One marathoner said, "We really needed this!"

On our way back to the hotel, we found another penny:

We enjoyed a post-race celebration meal along with many other runners at The Cheesecake Factory where people congratulated each other and greeted each other with "How did you do?" It's been two years since we've had this kind of experience and my heart and soul overflowed with gratitude that we could have this experience again.

As for Coach Brian, he posted this on Facebook:
I am so inspired by them! It was so awesome to see their hard work and my coaching business notch its first finish!
・・・
It took a few days to process how amazing Sunday was as a coach!
I am so proud of my athletes! They did it! My clients crushed their half marathon in Providence this past weekend! A 20 minute PR! Their diligence and dedication paid off! I’m so grateful to have had the the opportunity to create their training plans, adjust them as needed, and help them enjoy the process and progress!
On to the next race and goal!
 
Indeed -- every finish line is a starting line!
 
From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

Father's Day Reflections

 From the upcoming "Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic":     Father's Day Reflections 2021 ...