Wow, after a easy run this AM, I spent some time reading older blog posts. Posts that I had written over the last 1-2 years and posts that I wrote just after spine surgery (8 months ago). It was pretty emotional (good thing no one was around ;-)) It is really hard to imagine that it was just about 4 months ago I started to run again. Recovery from surgery was hard, I felt that I would never run competitively again. Those first few weeks, using a walker, feeling so weak, and experiencing pain with every move; it was all very humbling considering a month before I had run a marathon on very technical trails. The months of rehab. included suspended walking and running on a treadmill, running in the water, using the bike and elliptical and lots of therapy. It was almost a full-time job and the roller coaster of emotions tested me in every way possible.
Then got the ok to start jogging a few miles. Was excited, scared, and confused all at once. Everything felt different. I was terrified with every step and each step felt so unfamiliar. Mechanics were different, I felt unstable, and really didn’t know how to utilize the body I once knew so well. I could now feel my left leg and foot but that was unfamiliar too. But each day I went out and tried to get to know the new spine and become friends with it. There were days were tears ran down my face as I felt like I wouldn’t become one with my body again AND there were days where the endorphins kicked in and there were strides of pure happiness.
Then came months of gradual progression. I was grateful for each run but there were times I still had doubt. Sometimes you can’t rush mother nature and she would remind me with nights of pain and workouts I just couldn’t get through. However, I stay focussed (with the help of friends, coaches, and doctors) and never gave up in believing that my “gift” of a stabilized spine and the ability to run would provide for me further down the road to destiny.
What I am getting to is…. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!
If someone would have said to me in March, you will be able to run a marathon in Sept. I would probably started crying and said, “you are crazy, who do you think I am”. However, I let each week pass by and persevered, kept a positive attitude, remained dedicated, and had FAITH.
Perseverance: When the going gets tough (and it did in several ways), you must press through the negative and have Faith that you are being protected. You must believe that you are not faced with what you can not handle.
Positive Attitude: There was absolutely no reason to not have a positive attitude. I was given a second chance in life with this surgery. Without it I would continue to lose feeling in my leg, walk without control of my left foot, and continue to hide tears of pain on a daily basis. BUT I was given a 2nd chance by Dr. Porter at Barrow Neurological Institute and for that no words can explain my gratefulness. Being positive not only kept me determined to achieve the improbable but helped inspire others to always look at the bright side of the situation.
Dedicated: I think dedication might be what allowed the accelerated healing. I was determined to do everything in my power and pray for the rest in order to heal and return to my passion of running. Recovery was 24/7. I had the best guiding, directing, and motivating me. The dedication does not end, I continue to do everything in my power to continue to reach further, run stronger, and train smarter. Yes, there are sacrifices but this past Sunday crossing the finish line, every one of those sacrifices were made 100% worth it.
FAITH: The most important! I am a “control freak” (might be the understatement of the century). First, I had to have Faith in God. I had to know that running was a gift he gave me to change both my life and others, to inspire and motivate, and to use as an avenue to show others that we are capable of achieving and aspiring to much higher levels than we think we can. Second, I had to have Faith in my doctors and coaches. I had to trust that they were both helping me achieve my goals AND at the same time were watching out for my health. That was hard and I had to dig deep and ask God for patience and acceptance. Third, I have to continue to have Faith in myself. I have to continue to believe, through the tough times and through the easy days. The tough days remain tough, mentally and physically as I continue to deal with some spine issues, a pancreatic condition, and a life changing event that occurred in July. BUT….
With perseverance, a positive attitude, dedication, and FAITH… anything is possible.
So as I have been asked, “how on earth did you run a 3:16 marathon on 4 months of running after spine surgery in Jan”. I just say, perseverance, positive attitude, dedication, and FAITH. That’s all! 😉
But then I turn my head, a few tears in my eyes, and so many fresh memories over the last year, and think to myself. I am not really sure how it all happened. All I know is that some special people from above gave me the strength to continue in the darkest miles and those same people (among others) were out there with me on the marathon course and will continue to inspire me as I move along on the journey called “my life” 🙂