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
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