Yesterday, my dear friend and cyberspace soul sister, Joan Adams posted on Facebook, Motivational Monday - what gets you motivated. I pondered that question and realized that I am so incredibly blessed to be running again. What motivated me to pick myself up after a relapse of post polio and a surge of cervical spine disease symptoms? The 'voice' at the Tufts 10K 2009, "Don't you let anyone ever tell you you can't do something." As I have said, a part of me wanted to stay safe in the patient role, to play small but I couldn't stay there.
On June 27, I crossed the finish line of my first road race since the Corrib Pub Run June 2009. I haven't looked back. At first, I was planning to 'just run' and that was quite the accomplishment considering where I came from. And then something switched inside of me. Being embraced by the running community at Lexs Run and getting involved again with social media sites such as Just Finish, going back on Twitter and signing up for Facebook along with following blogs of my fellow runners, I was swept up and swept away in the world of running.
When I first started running again, personal best or PR's were no where on my radar. I was thrilled to be running. At Lexs Run pre race stretch/massage Eric Derrico of BMA gave me a hug and said, 'Go get a PR'. When my life and running partner Tom saw me running, he set the pace and said 'Come on Mare, don't pay attention to your heart rate. Let's do it.' The love was palpable and fueled me to set a PR.
And then I saw @Luau with his status "BQ" (Boston Qualifier) and @reallynotarunnr's goal on Daily Mile to set PR's for his 5K's and before I knew what was happening - I was hooked. It's not about being as good as Doug or Luau or Adam or Chris or my husband; it's about my personal best and it's about not settling for anything less than my personal best.
On Sunday, Tom and I went out for a 5 mile run. I had in my mind that I wanted to do a sub 15 minute mile. Why? Because I want to maintain the feeling of doing my personal best when I go out on the roads. It was cold and my shins and knees were not happy that I was out training in the New England chilly air again. I told them - this is nothing guys - we are training for the Hyannis 10K in February so let's figure out how we are going to get through this. So I cranked up my iPod and talked with Tom and sent warm healing energy to my legs. They remembered and responded - ah yes this is what we used to do during our Boston Marathon training. There was a strong headwind as we ran twice around the Reservoir. I did not look at my watch until we were coming down the home stretch of Eliot Street where we live and all of a sudden, a la run Forrest, run, I took off. I ran faster than I ever have in my life and my heart rate went up to 200 and when I finished the run, I did it in 74 minutes, a 14:44 minute pace.
Today I was planning to 'take it easy' after Sunday's performance. But I couldn't - there was something inside of me motivating me make this run a personal best. I decided to see if I could do close to a 14 minute mile for 3 miles. I used to be able to do 11 minute miles with my personal trainer when we were training for the marathon. Boy would she push me in the dead of winter around Jamaica Pond but it was all worth it. So I planned out a route down Beacon Street 1.5 miles each way. I ran my heart out and finished in 14:05. Average heart rate was 150 with a peak of 167. There was a HUGE hill to run up after turning off of Beacon Street heading back home but I ran the whole way.
So when I get up in the morning and I am feeling pain in my joints and the cervical spine is throbbing, what gets me going to do strength training or go out for a run every day? One of the voices I hear is Doug (@reallynotarunnr) saying "Strong work" in his comments. I look in the mirror and I see my body changing shape. This is not about vanity or beauty - this is about health. This is about seeing a body that was once hunched over and weak to one that is strong and healthy. I listen to my songs in my iPod that keep me motivated during my work outs. I know that no matter how I may be feeling, I'll ALWAYS feel better after a work out. I know that the pain subsides through my stretching, visualizing the work that Eric and I do together and by immersing myself in what brings me joy and happiness. To quote Carly Simon, "I haven't got time for the pain." I am so incredibly grateful to have Eric as my partner on this journey. I know that after a treatment with him, the pain is gone, I feel energized and lighter. I have a confidence in my body that I never had before now. I am so grateful to be a part of this incredible running community where, when I show up, and run with all my heart, I am achieving a personal best!
To read more about my journey from post polio to the Boston Marathon visit my website at Mary McManus.com When you purchase autographed copies of my books of inspirational poetry, I donate 20% to the End Polio Now campaign. I'm donating 100% of proceeds of the sale of my short film documentary Keeping the Pace:The Mary McManus Story to End Polio Now. You can be inspired for only $10 and know that you are donating to a wonderful cause.
God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
With love from my heart to yours,
p.s. Check out the t shirt I am wearing in the documentary trailer!