Behind the 10k

I ran a 10k race this weekend. When I was at my race I looked around at all the runners and thought of their stories. I wondered why they were running. Did they have something to prove? What were their challenges? How did their training go? I wondered which of the runners had stories like mine. I wanted to know how many of them fought for this race. I wanted to know how much this race meant to each and every one of them.

For you see, I haven’t always been a runner. In fact when first I signed up for cross country running in seventh grade, I’m not even sure I knew what cross country was. I remember my dad chuckling at the thought of me running every day after school because I was the kid who walked most of the mile run in gym class. Even during the first part of that cross country season I walked during my races. Something changed for me mid-year. I found out that I could run and I did enjoy it. I became strong and fast. What started for me as a way to spend more time away from home became a sport that I loved. In my new found love of running I was part of an amazing team. My cross country team was made up of great, fun loving people. I was happy when I ran and I could see myself running for the rest of my life. I began to have hopes and dreams of some day running a marathon.

After high school, I took a break from running. I was busy trying to figure out how to be an adult. I had a job and stuff to do. While I never totally forgot my dream of running a marathon, my focus shifted. Then Friday night, July 24th, 1992 my dreams of running a marathon were taken away from me by force. I was in a car accident that broke my pelvis, fractured two of my vertebrae, left me with nerve damage, and toes that no longer worked. Worse of all I had been about thirty six weeks pregnant. I was due to have my first child in about a month. On July 25th I gave birth to my still born daughter, Shea Marie.

I spent years in depression. I was in so much physical and mental pain I sometimes still wonder how I survived. I was told by doctors that there was nothing they could do for the nerve damage, but slowly, year by year, I started to heal. There were eventually times I didn’t need a cane to walk. There were eventually days where I didn’t burst out in random tears and cry myself to sleep at night. I started to dream of running again.

Each year I would strap on my running shoes and try. It was hard. Physically my body didn’t want to work. I would run a block and my foot would cramp up. I would spend the rest of the day fighting the massive cramps in my foot and crying from the pain. I pressed on. I forced it time and time again. I had decided that I would run again, that physically I would heal.

It has taken me almost sixteen years of small victories and painful setbacks, but I ran my first race since high school this weekend. I was nervous and afraid. I ran the whole way and while my time was a far cry from where it used to be, I’m proud. I finished my race and proved to myself that I can do it. This race was not only for me. I dedicated this race to my daughter, Shea Marie.

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8 Replies to “Behind the 10k”

  1. The more I learn about you, the more amazed I am. You have me in tears…count me as one more person out here in the world who is truly proud to call you a friend.

  2. Sweetheart, you rocked the f*ck out of that race. I was there eating your damn dust all 6.2 miles. And you looked beautiful doing it. Hold your head high and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished. Love ya, girl. ((hugs))

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Every time I tell you that I am proud of you, I mean it. Please continue to amaze me!

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