I was faster than the boys in elementary school. I took great pride in that, even though it was hard for me physically. My lungs struggled because my mom and her second husband and most of her friends were heavy smokers and I was around that during my formative years. I knew it affected my sports ability, but I was an achiever...still am...and pushed through. The step dad was a paraplegic and I found even greater meaning for having two legs that could run fast. He passed when I was in 2nd grade and I knew that having legs that worked was a special gift.
On the weekends, my real dad would take me running with him when I was in 6 th grade at the local high school track. I enjoyed the night air and the freedom. With the power of each footstep I found it exhilarating.
I made the varsity track team in high school and found that I was excellent at relays, high jump, hurdles, and long jump. The coach said if I wanted to run faster that I should lose 5lbs over the summer before my sophomore year. So, the achiever in me took off. I ran everyday. Not seeing the results I wanted. I did the research and discovered that if I ate less and moved more that I would lose weight. So I did, and then began my journey into a dark few years of anorexia.
To make a long story short (this part is a whole other blog post), I had to give up running to heal. I wasn’t capable nor had the energy. I was 98lbs-soaking wet on a 5 foot 7 inch frame. Not very strong or powerful at all.
I didn’t touch running again until my senior year when a friend of my brothers asked me to help him get in shape for the Navy. So, I began running again to help him. I continued to run in College. I found a new passion for slow steady long runs to lesson my anxiety and stress. The strong body was back and I loved the runs through my college town.
Running took a back seat as I got married and then had kids. Kids...yes.. a very good reason to pick it up again. I had gained some weight, but really more than anything was looking to have some time alone. Some ME time! I began running again and entered in a local 10k race and won first place in my age bracket. I was hooked again!
Since the age of 32 I have run when it was most challenging, when I was most angry, when I needed to sleep, when I just needed to escape. I have averaged anywhere from 35-50 miles a week each week since 32. I have run 5 full marathons, 12 half marathons, several 200+mile relays, and countless 10K and 5K’s.
All that came to a screeching stop about 6 months ago. I started having major knee joint issues. The MRI showed a strained meniscus, water on the bone, and osteoarthritis. I felt my world come shattering down. A lot of my identity was wrapped in running and achieving.
“No running” the Dr. prescribed. “At least not for now!”
Pain meds don’t work. Cortisone shots have yet to prove powerful enough to touch the pain. Now going in for the second of a three course shots of hyaluronic acid. If this doesn’t work then back to the drawling board for solutions.
I have been able to powerwalk with my treadmill at a 6% incline holding 5lb weights to stimulate a great heart rate sweaty workout. Biking has been instrumental in helping me stay sane as well. But nothing beats running.
I wear my jawbone to calculate my steps and my goal each day is to get at least 8 miles of walking in no matter what or how much pain I’m in.
I have faith that I’ll be back on the trail again. Maybe not going the distances I once was. However, I’d be glad for a few days of running 3-4 miles at a time.
No matter what you are going through, stay active, keep moving, and listen to your body, be the best version of you every day. Having two legs that can move is a real gift. Keep moving!
Mother of two girls, Kelsie (13) Samantha (10) and fur baby husky, Story (2)
Married to Steve 18 years
Family Pastor of 9 years
National Program Director for American Heritage Girls
Founder of KT Ministry Consulting