We have another treat for you…another one of our Twitter friends @gracefullady (Mary McManus) has so graciously agreed to share her story with us. After you read her story of courage and accomplishment, please take the time to watch the video, too. It is very moving and inspirational. Talk about breaking through barriers and redefining your reality for yourself….we can all take a lesson from her.
How ’bout it?
“A fit woman is a powerful woman” is the motto of Moving Comfort who makes running clothes exclusively for women. With all the talk of New Year’s resolutions and tips for health and fitness, I want to speak to the incredible psychological, physical and spiritual power that I experience now that I have been blessed to discover the joy of running. As a child, I contracted paralytic polio at age 5. I ditched the idea of ever being able to participate in athletics or ever being able to achieve a level of fitness. I was ever so grateful for the ability to walk again and went on with my life … that is until I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome at age 53.
It took about 10 years for me to finally trust my instincts that I was experiencing symptoms of post polio syndrome. I went to Spaulding Rehab’s International Rehab Center for Polio and after 7 tubes of blood, innumerable tests and a complete physical with my primary care provider, the diagnosis was confirmed.
I embarked on a journey I never imagined was possible, and this journey is now taking me, along with my daughter and husband, to the starting line of the 113th Boston Marathon to run for Spaulding Rehab.
I went through intensive outpatient therapy at Spaulding and after I was discharged from their care, I hired a personal trainer, Janine Hightower, who had been a friend of mine for several years.
My body was asking to do more but my big question was…could I defy the diagnosis of post polio syndrome and heal mind, body and spirit? Only time would tell.
I began strength training and the day after the first session I could barely move as we began to engage muscles that had never been worked before. There were many times when I wondered what I was doing and when I wanted to quit, but the spark of moving forward and finding my strength and power fueled my journey.
I visualized, meditated, journaled and sought out other healers to be a part of my team. I used my gift of poetry which I discovered when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome to continue to inspire my body to heal.
Last February when Janine asked me what my new goals for health and fitness were, the words “I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab” just fell out of my mouth. I could feel God’s call to challenge myself and stretch myself beyond all my wildest imaginings. What a blessing to have my husband, Tom and daughter, Ruth Anne join me.
For the first time in my life, I am a member of an athletic team – Spaulding Rehab’s Team McManus. We have already run the Corrib Pub 5K, The Marathon Sports 5 Miler, The Tough Ten Mile Turkey Trot and the Tufts 10K for Women.
We are registered for a 16 Mile Long Run as part of BAA’s Charity Event Team, The Hyannis Half Marathon and the 21 Mile Long Run – our final long run on 3/28 before we taper to prepare for Boston on April 20, 2009.
Every step, every challenge, every triumph, every frustration and every joy continue to prepare us physically and mentally to run 26.2 miles. I have learned so much about myself along this Road to the Boston Marathon, and the most important lesson of all for me has been the power of love to fuel healing, hope, courage, faith and grit and determination.
And just remember, as Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” So why not think and feel you can – I did and it has been the greatest blessing in my life!