I often look right over any accomplishments I achieve and just press on to the next goal and I'm trying hard not to do that here.
I ran an 8k at a great pace, finished third in my age group and got an award. Pretty cool.
I turned around and ran a 5k immediately following the 8k, and got to run with an amazing young man that taught me a lot about not letting anything get in the way of the goals we set. Pretty great day really.
Working the expo was fun and allowed me to interact with runners for two days straight. It allowed me to learn from some veterans and hear the answers to questions I wouldn't even think to answer. Pretty blessed to have that time.
While at the expo a guy (whom I'd be proud to call friend) found me and said he saw I wanted to run a nine-minute pace, and we agreed to run together. I didn't know it then, but this was a huge blessing later.
Sunday morning came quickly, and after a sleepless night I felt as unprepared as ever for my 26.2 miles. Did I train enough? Did I fuel correctly? Was I hydrated? Could I push both mentally and physically? We were about to find out.
I found Scott, my pacer and now buddy, early on and we lined up together. A quick phone call from Bubs and the gunshot start came too fast.
One deep breathe.
Here we go.
Mile after mile ticked off and we posted sub nine-minute mile one after another. In the back of my head I apprehensively awaited the wall. Mile 10, 13, 16, still solid and feeling fresh.
Scott and I talked about training, life, our past and our futures. There wasn't a point we couldn't talk or were too out of breathe to be able to carry on our conversation.
Mile 21, my phone rings and as I round the bend I miss the call from my wife.
Note to self, tell wife to not call me at mile 21, while I’m laying my everything on a 26-mile course in what felt like 25MPH headwinds.
I called her back and let her know I was at mile 21, feeling great and heading in for the last little bit.
I was lying.
Suddenly I wasn’t feeling great. My knee hurt pretty bad and these head winds were not being very kind.
As we began to run onto the bridge, Scott and I were talking just a bit less and focusing just a bit more.
It was crystal clear to me that he was just as driven as I am, and there wasn’t anything that was going to stop our pursuit of a four-hour marathon time. Not our short careers as runners, not inexperience, not headwinds and certainly not a little bit of pain.
We motored on, and maintained the pace. 8:53 average pace was steadily holding and I hoped I could hang on.
As we ran on we approached the foot of “the hill.” The only significant climb in the course was the bridge, and those familiar may know what I’m talking about. While not a cliff, at mile 22 this bridge certainly didn’t seem welcoming.
My knee was talking back to me quite a bit and although I capitalized on every hydration point, my legs were cramping up a bit.
Early on in the run I realized that Scott was a pusher, and I was glad I had him on my side because as we laid down mile after mile we ran down everyone in sight. Not a single person passed us, save one. The “Stroller Warrior.” This excited and clearly prepared mom had “Stroller Warrior” scrawled on her calves and as we ran through the trails she and I discussed training with strollers and an online Stroller Warrior running club she was a part of. As we exited the trails we slowly passed her and motored on, for a minute. She fought back and I watched Stroller Warrior pull away from us. We made mention of her push, and I think we both had it in our heads that her passing us didn’t sit well. It was nothing more than competitive edge on our part, we wished her no ill will, but I think we both knew we were going to have to run her down.
Mile 19 she slowed to have a small mid-course celebration with her cheering section.
So long Stroller Warrior.
As we crested the bridge I made mention that I intended on letting my legs go for the downhill, striding out a bit to gain some time back.
Ok, here we are, the top; time to relax and stride out.
Not so fast.
The downhill proved just as hard as the uphill. The wind held us in place like a schoolyard bully. I was waiting for it to pick my hands up and start slapping me in the face telling me to quit hitting myself.
Running downhill took just as much effort as running on the flat course, and that was a bit demoralizing. We motored on and at nearly the same time, as if intricately coordinated like a last minute ambush, our legs began to tie themselves in knots.
Everyone says endurance-running forces the athlete to push right through pain and everything else, and in fine fashion pain had shown up to the dance.
She would not be ignored and demanded laser-like focus.
We set our goal, and neither of us was about to quit now, and we didn’t.
Silence had fallen over our struggle and we both had little to add to any conversation.
Enter music. We both dawned our headphones for the fist time and looked for a few notes of inspiration.
The music surged through my body like a second wind, only at this point it was more appropriate to call it a final push.
I picked the pace up.
We rounded the corner and were staring right down the barrel of the final stretch. Just a couple of miles, a couple of corners rounded, stood between our goal and us.
I pushed with everything I had. Scott was quick to catch up and we hammered out the best we could.
I looked down as my watch registered mile 25. 8:53.
We were going to get our four-hour marathon.
Like a maniac I screamed “WE’VE GOT THIS. THIS IS OUR RACE. OUR DAY. OUR RUN!!!”
Scott must have thought I was absolutely crazy; well, if he hadn’t already figured that out along the last three hours and forty minutes.
As we rounded the next corner I swear my body was going to shut down. It was incredible. Nothing in life mattered at that very moment. Not my past. Not my future. Not the pain.
I was fully present. Fully engaged. Fully aware that if I didn’t mash the pedal down with everything I had, my goal would slip away.
The final corner approached and as we rounded it I experienced something I’ve never experienced before.
100% uncontrollable emotion.
I was smiling and in complete euphoria and yet strangely aware that I was in more pain than ever before and somehow experiencing more pleasure.
I have heard many times about “the edge” in running. I suppose it’s different for everyone, but this was it for me.
I can’t explain it well enough for anyone to understand the enormity, the clarity, the purity, the honesty, the utter life altering experience those last .2 miles provided me, but I can say this.
If you never find that edge, that moment, in your running career, in life, then you may never understand what life is truly all about.
I shouted above the crowd and music to Scott, “Let’s go get our sub-four!”
We picked up our pace, and finished in grand fashion, sprinting to the finish as if the last 26 miles were nothing more than a warm-up.
Tears streaming down my face, new medals around my neck, water in hand, finisher’s visor propped atop my salty head, I turned and looked down back down the course.
At that moment I realized that I left more than a little bit of me out there. I left what was the biggest part of me for over 35 years. I left my fears, doubts, and insecurities out there and they were nowhere to be seen.
As I turned I hugged Scott and smiled.
We did it.
We hit our goal and let nothing stand in the way.
As the medics snatched me and sat me down they asked me if I felt all right and I smiled and said I had never felt better in my entire life.
They notice the swelling on my knee and iced it for a minute, and sitting there allowed me to gain some perspective.
Amidst the cheering, clapping, music and electric atmosphere, I realized that I had never felt so peaceful.
I did it.
I’m a marathoner.
I’m not done.
Follow Josh online at https://www.facebook.com/drivenrunner
What a difference a year makes! I was the girl in high school that walked the mile. I hated any form of exercise. So when my friend asked me to sign up for a mud run last May, I shocked everyone by saying yes. I had recently divorced and decided I needed to try some new things, why not run in a mud pit?
The training started out ugly, I was a single mom of 3 working full time and had very little free time to run, I did c25k for almost 3 months and couldn't get past week 4.
Then end of July hits and I came down with a mysterious infection that went septic. By the time I made it to the ER I was near death. The doctors told me I would have died that day if I had stayed home. I was in the ICU for 5 days and my biggest worry was that I couldn't continue my c25k. I also had my first 5k coming up less than 3 weeks later. My doctor told me I could not run it so I walked that first 5k. A month later, I did that mud run.
I signed up for a few more 5Ks that fall/winter and still not able to complete a 5k without walking. Then in Dec, I finally ran an entire 5k in 34:38. It was such a wonderful feeling after 7 months of trying!
A year later, I have completed many 5k's, a 12k, and the Rock n' Roll half marathon that I did as a last minute sub.
I never believed in my wildest dreams that I would be able to complete a half. During that last mile, I almost couldn't finish because I was trying so hard not to cry, not from being tired, but because I was so close to doing something I thought was impossible for me.
I still struggle to find time to run, most of the time I run twice a week. I've lost 2 toenails, tried 5 different running shoes before finding my perfect shoe, and have discovered the wonderful world of the running community.
I am a runner.
My name is Christopher Merken. I'm seventeen years old and started running in November of 2012. I weighed 230 pounds and was pretty unhappy with my life. I was sluggish and slow, really out of it. One day I just decided to go running. I had no running experience, I had no running clothes, I had no running shoes. But I wanted to change my life. I decided to run a 5k in April of 2013. I thought that would be plenty of time to train for a run 3.1 miles.
I got bored though. It was the middle of January and snowing and cold but I wanted to race. I found a race in the middle of Pennsylvania scheduled for January 26th. Nervous, I signed up. The day of the race it was four degrees at race time. It had snowed the night before and there was snow and ice all over the course. But the forty runners who made it out were enthusiastic and encouraging. I finished the race and actually placed in my age group.
Since then I've run twenty races this year. I entered the lottery for the Philadelphia Broad Street Run and was accepted as one of the nearly 40,000 runners. It was a ten mile race, and when I finished it I knew I wanted to do my first half marathon. In June I ran the ODDyssey half marathon in Philadelphia. This fall I'll be running the BAA half marathon and the Philadelphia half marathon. I hope to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014.
Running has provided me with the discipline and goals I've lacked in my life. I've lost fifty pounds and six inches on my waist since November of 2012. I've become happier in life, and I will continue my running with new goals and new challenges in college at the University of Delaware this fall.
A while back I was having heart palpation and other tightness in my chest. After a week long heart study, I was told that I needed to be active again. When I was in high school I ran cross country and distance events in track and I loved to run, but in my senior year I hurt both my knees running in the state meet of cross country. I tried to run in college, but it never worked out. So when the doctor told me I needed to be active, my desire was to run but the injury from high school was in the back of my mind. In the middle of trying to get active again, I started to get migraine headaches; They determined that they were caused by a hole in my heart, and if I wasn't careful I could have a blood clot, it could pass through the hole in the heart I could have a stroke. The cardiologist said that I had to do more than just be active, I had to really up my cardo and loose some weight. So I thought I would try running again and see how the knees would hold out. At 43, overweight, heart palpations, hole in my heart, and bad knees: I started a Couch to 5k and the first time running the knees felt great, as the millage increased, the knees felt awesome and I fell in love with running again. Still the migraines persisted and all the doctors said I needed to repair the hole in my heart. I was scared of getting blood clots and knew the more cardo I did the blood clots would decrease, so I upped my weekly millage and started to train for the Detroit marathon. Still the migraines persisted to the point that surgery was not an option. so I had the surgery. 3 weeks later I was on the road again. I did the Detroit marathon last year, only 4 months after they closed the hold in my heart. I finished in 4:13:13. I was so excited. The day after I was determined to try to qualify for Boston 2013, and run Boston in 2014. My first marathon of 2013 and shot at qualifying was April 12 of this year. On January 3, while on a 13 mile training run, I slipped on some ice and really hurt my knee. After a 2 week break, I went to see the orthopedic doctor and sent me for physical therapy. 6 weeks later the pain was as bad as when I started so they sent me for an MRI and found that I had a ruptured ACL. They said that my legs were so fit from running so much that the other muscles were protecting the knee and was not presenting as a typical ACL injury. I had my ACL repaired on April 15, as I was recovering in the hospital I saw what happened at this year's Boston Marathon and was resolved to run it in 2015.
After 3 months of recovery of nothing more than stationary bike, and not running since my injury on January 3, I was cleared to run again just last week (June 26). When at physical therapy on the day I was cleared to run again, I was on the treadmill at a very slow jog when the trainer told me to stop, I said, "can I just finish this mile" and she replied "you are like addicted to running, you are a run junkee arn't you?" we both laughed when I told her about this page. Pages like Runjunkees, have been very instrumental in getting me back on the road again.
I was staring down at my running shoes when they turned blurry; the tears I had been fighting back falling quickly and quietly. My legs were shaking and my heart began to pound wildly as I stared at the treadmill. I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it. What am I even doing here? Why did I think this would be a good idea? I glanced at my husband and saw a familiar subdued panic in his eyes – a reflection of my own. Every unreasonable bone in my body screamed at me to go, get out of here, get my son, get in the car, and drive as far south as I could get. I could feel the fear rising in my chest and I suddenly felt like I was about to be sick right then and there. It was now or never. I said a prayer and hit the big green start button.
It is June 20, 2012 just another Wednesday for most people. But I am not most people. I am 3 hours away from home, on a treadmill in a tiny windowless room on the 10th floor of a children’s hospital. There is no amount of training, nothing I could have ever done that would have prepared me for this day. My 15 month old son is with a team of surgeons a few floors below me. He is undergoing a 7 to 8 hour cranial vault reconstruction, which means a team of highly skilled surgeons are cutting open my baby’s head from ear to ear, removing his entire skull, breaking the bones apart, reshaping them, and putting it all back together correctly with plates and screws in order to give his brain enough room to grow.
Unbeknownst to us, our son Emmett was born with a birth defect of the skull called Craniosynostosis. The sutures in his skull were closed at birth, inhibiting his skull growth. For the first 12 months of his life, he was a happy, seemingly healthy baby boy. Just a few days after his first birthday, we found him unconscious and seizing wildly in his crib. This one day, this one event would alter the course of our lives forever. Not only would this lead us into a major, invasive surgery to fix his skull but routine pre-op testing would bring us completely unrelated, more bad news about his brain. As they laid diagnosis upon diagnosis on our baby boy – it was like an anchor around my neck growing heavier and heavier. We gathered a team of 16 specialists, we started forcing numerous medications down his throat each day, we went to multiple weekly therapies, and spent an insane amount of hours each week watching him undergo extensive testing and fading into the halls of the hospital.
The anchor was paralyzing at first, so heavy I could hardly bare it. In the midst of the worst turmoil I have ever known watching my little boy suffer so greatly, I did the only thing that still made sense, the only thing I could control. I went for a run. Having been a dedicated distance runner for about 8 years at that point, I knew the healing qualities in running. I ran and I cried. I ran and I prayed. I ran and I screamed. Sometimes the pain and anguish that came pouring out during a run scared me, but I kept running. I ran until my legs ached and my lungs burned. I ran until I could feel the anger, shock, fear, and helplessness slowly leaving my body. I continued to run in an exhaustive zombie-like state in between hospital stays and testing. Each time I returned from my run, that anchor felt just a little bit lighter. It was during one of our 3 hour back and forth drives to the hospital that an idea formed. I am not a woman of inaction; I can’t just sit in a waiting room like a normal person. I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to run. I decided to run for the entirety of my son’s surgery; the greatest show of solidarity I could muster, the only thing that still made sense. If he must endure this surgery, I can endure my own special brand of pain in his honor and so I started training for the longest run of my life. I was no stranger to the marathon, but this would be far above and beyond what I had ever done. Emmett’s (virtual) Endurance Event was officially born. I made a Facebook event, a race bib with his picture, and encouraged family and friends to do something active on that day with me. It was a show of support for Emmett, even though he was too young to understand it, letting him know he wasn’t alone in this and raising awareness for Craniosynostosis in the process.
Back in the tiny windowless room, the monotony of my footsteps begins to threaten my sanity. It’s no longer soothing. It’s a quiet room with only my pit crew - my running expert husband and marathon running pastor. My footsteps echo loudly in my ears, to the point where I consider plugging my ears to drown out the noise. In my head, I am a thousand miles away: far away from this treadmill, this hospital, and this new life. In my head, I ran away from all of this. But in reality, I am here. Running and waiting in this agonizing state of the unknown.
To pass the time, my husband reads to me and shows me pictures from Facebook. Somewhere in the middle of our crisis, the most amazing thing happened. The running community and strangers from all over the world united with us for Emmett’s Endurance Event. I saw endless pictures of people running, biking, walking, golfing, jumping on the trampoline, gardening, swimming, Zumba, Crossfit, lifting weights, band practices, meetings, and more. All of these people dedicated their workouts/daily activities to Emmett, holding up a picture of him. Hundreds of messages, prayers, and emails flooded in completely overwhelming us. We were rendered speechless by the response. I wasn’t alone in this tiny windowless room at all, over a thousand people were right there with me.
Hour 6 was the hour that almost broke me. I was physically more exhausted than I can ever remember being, I was running on empty and desperate to stop. Everything hurt - my legs, my feet, my head, and my heart. I was scared. I was tired. I wanted to see my son. I was choking back tears. But I don’t give up; it’s just not who I am, stubborn as an ox if you ask my husband. Failure was never an option for me. My son has no choice in his surgery and if he can’t stop, then I can’t stop either. There comes a point in every race when your heart must carry you because your legs can’t do it anymore. It’s sheer will power. It’s what you tell yourself you have to do, what you tell yourself you MUST do and right now my legs were taking orders from my heart.
Hour 6 is something that will forever live on in my mind. I will never be fast enough to be considered an elite athlete. In reality, I am far from elite. I am slightly overweight and although I run a heavy load of miles each week, I am still a comfortably middle of the pack runner. I am quite average and I have no qualms about that. All these facts aside, hour 6 made me feel like an elite athlete at the top of their game. I was all heart, all soul, all passion, gritting my teeth and bearing what I thought was once unbearable. Never in my life had I felt so very weak, but yet so full of power. I certainly didn’t look powerful but I was doing it. The simple fact that I was still moving was about as powerful a statement as I could make.
We did not ring in hour 7 with a picture and Facebook update as we had every single hour before. If you ask my husband Tony, he will swear my eyes were glowing red and I growled at him when he brought the camera over, but I’m pretty sure I just said “no picture.” One of my closest friends (and fellow runner/training partner) made a podcast for me to listen to and gave me explicit directions to listen to it when I was at my wit’s end. This was it. Hour 7 - there were no wits left. I cried and laughed in a barely comprehendible fashion. No doubt at this point, my pit crew was sure I had lost my mind. I listened to it over and over until the call finally came. My son was out of surgery. 7 hours and 26 minutes after I first stepped on to that treadmill, a different woman stepped off of it. One that knew there were no such things as boundaries and limits. I had run exactly 36.2 miles with an average 12:19min/mile pace. It wasn’t about the pace at all, but secretly I was hoping to keep it in the 11’s. I told myself that is next year’s goal.
Even though I was exhausted and my legs were like jell-o, after a quick shower, I was rapidly walking down that hallway. I wanted to kick open those double doors, push everyone aside, and run as fast as I could to that recovery room. Just as I willed myself to keep running at the end, I now had to will myself to calm down and not start running. Emmett recovered from surgery well and went home within a week. He had 2 different shorter, surgeries since then as well but I did not run for those. He continues to face challenges with his health but is resilient and strong.
Ask me to talk about Emmett’s Endurance Event and I will start crying, every single time. People think they can’t make a difference in this world and that they are only one. But to people like us going through that, every single one of these people made a difference just by taking a picture, sending an email, and sharing in the difficult time in our lives. When all was said and done, over 1,000 people in 45 states and 13 countries took part in Emmett's Endurance Event. These people, even though we may not know all of their names, made a difference in our lives forever. They are a part of our family now.
On June 20, 2013 exactly one year after Emmett’s surgery – I took to my treadmill once again in an effort to continue raising awareness for Craniosynostosis. I collected names and dedicated each portion of my run to others to give back some of the support and encouragement we had been given. When I hit 7 hours and 26 minutes this year, I was just over 38 miles and so I pushed on dedicating my final two miles to my son Emmett. 7 hours and 52 minutes later, I had covered 40 miles with an average 11:48 min/mile pace. It wasn’t about the pace at all, but secretly, I was quite pleased. Next year though, I want those 40 miles in the 7 hour and 26 minute mark….
My name is Jim. I'm 36 year old father of 4 (2 daughters and twin boys (1 is an angel). I've been running for the past 4 years now. I was a police officer for 7 years when I was struck by a car on a traffic stop. I tore my ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL, meniscus and my hamstring was torn away from the bone. Two surgeries later and the doctors decided I wouldn't be able to return to work as an officer and they weren't sure if I'd even be able to run again. After 1 year of PT my last day the therapists decided to let me get onto a treadmill and try to jog. I jogged for 1 minute, albeit with a great deal of pain. Before my accident I hated running, but the prospect of losing that ability pushed me to w whole new level of respect for it. I love running now.
Two years ago my sons Grady and Cullen were born, however, we lost Cullen after he battled to be with us for 5 hours. We almost lost Grady too. They had TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) and the doctors were not aware of this. I have again turned to running as a form of therapy. I have Cullen's footprint tattooed on my left ankle so that he can be with me physically as well as mentally during my runs. I don't know where I would be today if it wasn't for running. I am 100 lbs less in weight and it has become a spiritual thing for me. Running has enabled me to overcome many obstacles. I love the Run Junkees group as you are all so supportive in my efforts and I can turn to you for advice. Thank you for being here for me and allowing me to partake in your knowledge sharing.
I am working on a 10 mile race now then a half soon afterwards. I even got my 8 year old daughter into running 5k's with me. I would definitely say running is my drug of choice. I've become addicted.
Back in 2007, I began training for my first marathon on a dare. It only took one and I was hooked. I soon became a personal trainer and helped many others reach their marathon goals. Through all my clients, as I taught them how to safely reach the finish line, there was an irony happening. I was constantly injuring myself. From stress fractures and soft tissue injuries to dislocations! I was constantly reprimanded by my doctors and was told to "ease up". The problem was, I wasn't doing anything different than the average marathoner (if there can be such a thing). I was practicing my own precautions to avoid injury.
As the injuries progressed, I found myself in the orthopedic doctor's office once again, pissed off. I wanted answers. I had come up with a diagnosis just 3 years prior and was laughed at by my chiropractor. "That's not you," he laughed. Because the diagnosis was 1 in 10,000, I held my head down and felt stupid, forgetting I ever researched it. As my ortho doc left the room, I opened up my file on his computer and counted. 16 injuries in 4 years, and those were only the ones I felt needed medical attention! Something was not right! Just a few days later, I met a women with that same diagnosis I had researched a few years prior. Our lives were identical, down to the premature births of our children. I immediately found a specialist and was indeed diagnosed with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome, Type 3, hypermobile.
EDS is a connective tissue disorder. Basically, my tissue stretches beyond what's humanly possible...but it doesn't like to stretch back. Hence, my injuries in any kind of endurance activity.
I'm hoping I can help someone out there with the same problem. The worst of my diagnosis is not only giving up my endurance activities, but coming to terms with working out like "an average person". The alternative is a life of pain in my later years if I ignore my condition.
I started painting out of the blue one day and it has filled that hole in my heart. I get the same adrenaline rush painting as I did crossing a finish line and placing in my age group. I think God sent me a gift to keep me content, and I thank Him for that. I quit my training company and now paint full-time because of the sudden demand for my art.
Happy, safe running everybody!
Hi, I'm Andrea and this is my running story!!
It's April of 2009 - I am sitting in the waiting room getting an IV put in my hand. Today, I have double jaw surgery scheduled. I'm a nervous wreck, but I am trying super hard not to let my mom, who has come with me, know.
They wheel me in to surgery, lay me on the table, and ask me to start counting backwards from 10; I am not sure I got to 7. I awake to two ladies asking me nicely to open my eyes - it felt like the most difficult task I had ever been asked to do. Eventually, I was able to look in the mirror. *gasp*
My upper jaw had been severed, bone removed, jaw moved up, four plates, and eight screws. Then, lower jaw severed on each side, bone removed, jaw pushed back, and nine screws. This procedure left me with a numb lower jaw; as in I couldn't feel my face from my bottom lip to the bottom of my chin. Could not - as in you could stick a steak knife in my face and nothing.
At my six week check up - I asked the doctor if I would ever get feeling back in my chin, and what I could do to expedite the process. He stated that if I tried some cardio - eventually it would help. At that point I did nothing with the information. It hurt too much to do anything, and I really wasn't in the working out mood. Also, I thought "certainly this will go away. It's still early in the game."
Fast forward to September 2010 - still no feeling. I call my friend (eventually my coach), and say "alright Joe, I am going to start running. How do I even start? What do I do? What do I need? Oh, and I think I want to run a marathon."
Joe laughed, was patient, and told me to head out to a field of grass and run for 20-30 minutes four days a week. He told me to call him after I finished my first two weeks. I'll admit - I was not an athlete. Not only was I not an athlete - I had hardly worked out at all my entire life. Sure, I had a gym membership - but I went sparingly. I'm talking once, twice, a month. I was a couch potato.
That first two weeks was so hard. My legs felt like lead, my lungs screamed, and my heart damn near tried to beat out of my chest - but I kept running. Over the next couple months the runs became a little more challenging, and a little more frequent, and eventually I was allowed to run on the pavement. By that time, running was no longer about restoring feeling in my face, it was about healing my soul.
I know, I know - that sounds terribly cliche, but that is exactly what happened. With every step I took, with every mile I logged, with every set of 100 I completed - I began to believe in myself just a little more. I was able to turn off my brain chatter, and enjoy the silence. I felt grounded. I felt at peace. It was a mental transformation that I have a very hard time describing. It was as though I was meant to do it, and I found myself asking why I hadn't been doing this all along.
On December 4, 2011 I completed my first full marathon.
I have never been as proud of myself as I was crossing that finish line - that day. I knew that all the sweat, tears, moments of clarity, moments of chaos, snowy runs, runs in the rain, perfect runs, blisters, lost toenails, tired muscles, hungry tummies, and moments of pure joy - had been worth it. I knew that if I set my mind to anything - I was crazy enough to get it done.
Today, I am a runner.
PS: On 05/05/13 I finished my 3rd Marathon in 3:57:29 - now, I've got Boston in my sights..... just need to shave off those last pesky 23 minutes :)
You can follow Andrea's blog and see all of the pics that went along with this story here http://curiosityandcuteshoes.blogspot.com/2012/12/this-is-my-running-story.html
You can also follow her on Facebook at scrambledlegsrunning
By Cory McAnelly, Iowa
"I had an amazing moment running tonight that reminded me of the power of a simple gesture. During my runs over the past few weeks I always run my warm up on the same stretch of Brady Street in Davenport. As time has gone on, some of the other faces on the route have become familiar. There is one young lady who always runs by me on the route and always puts a big smile on her face as she runs past me. It always makes me smile which tends to make my run much easier. Well, tonight as I crested the top of one of the biggest hills, I noticed her running towards me. However, instead of the upbeat smile she usually wears, she looked defeated and exhausted. The thought crossed my mind that it was my turn to smile for her and, of course, that was exactly what I did. Sadly, she didn't smile back and I felt as though I had failed in some way. Then, just as she was about to pass me, without making eye contact, without lifting her sagging shoulders, without changing her stride or her speed, she slides her left hand out into my running lane and opens her palm for what I would describe not so much as a "high-five," but definitely a "mid-five." I have a few feet to realize and react and, deciding this is what she wants, I reach my hand out to make contact. We touched hands and I continue on trying to figure out what just happened. I turned to look over my shoulder and she continued on, without breaking stride, down the hill to finish her run. Then I realized: this young lady, at the breaking point in her own run...tired, exhausted, barely able to lift her head to smile...still found a way to reach out and encourage me. My mood was instantly incredible and my run was great. I could not wipe the smile from my face. We could all stand to engage more in simple gestures when we are at our BEST, let alone when we are running on fumes and struggling to continue. Never underestimate the power that you have to do good in other people's lives and never forget to use that power as often as possible. It may seem like a stretch to think that I derived so much from something so simple...but, then again, that is the point.
I was 5' tall and weight in at a whopping 275 lbs. Short and round was how I described myself.
I had been diagnosed with a chronic illness and at the age of 48 found myself dependent on oxygen 24/7. This was not good and my husband did not expect me to live another 5 years. We decided to move from our home in Colorado where we were at 8,000 feet altitude to the low lands of Mississippi where the altitude was 215 ft.
We did not choose Mississippi out of a hat, we did have family living there and it would be fun to be close them again.
Upon arrival in Mississippi, I had to find new physicians. I found an aggressive Dr. who decided to give me a second lease on life. He worked very hard to get me off some of my medications and I am grateful to him for that. While he was whittling away at my medications, I accidentally went toxic on one of my other meds (NOT my fault!) and almost died.
During this time, I forgot how to eat and immediately lost 30 pounds! Most excellent! When I came around, I decided to really put forth an effort to losing weight and being active. This is where my sister comes into the story. She works at Mississippi State University and they were offering the C25K program. She wanted to do it and wanted me to participate. I said, sure!
Little did I know that 2 yrs ago this coming Labor Day would be a life changing day for me. That is the day we began C25K. That was the most difficult thing I have ever done and if it had not been the promise I made to my sister, there is no way I would have completed to program. A strange thing happened during that program~I got hooked on running!
The 5K at the completion of the program took me 48 minutes. I was so proud! My husband ran it with me~stuck by my side step by step and then we cried at the finish line. This was a major accomplishment. Not was I off oxygen and the majority of my medications, I had lost 148 pounds! Totally excellent!
I am now 51 and running now is a major part of my life. My husband and I are running partners and have completed many 5K's, 2 10K's, a 12K, 2 half marathons and are presently training for my first full marathon and his 3rd full marathon!
Who would have thought that running could have changed my life and the life of my family so dramatically!?! Our marathon is on Oct. 20. Wish us luck!!!
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