Members of Team SJS just minutes before the start of the 2010 Fox Cities Half Marathon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to the beginning...

Yesterday, I got the call from my friend Stephanie that the shirts we had ordered for the race were done! I couldn't wait to go and pick them up and as soon as I got there I knew why! They turned out awesome!! I am so excited to see a sea of blue shirts in the crowd and in the mob of runners and walkers! Now, it's time to get them out to everyone that ordered them! My living room floor looks like an Umpa Lumpa threw up on it!!

I had a bit of an emotional thing happen today. My physical therapist, Kari, had ordered a shirt and so my son and I went to take it to her today. Unfortunately, Kari wasn't there, but I did get to talk to Kathy, the incredibly sweet and wonderful receptionist. As we chatted briefly, I looked into the gym where Kari and I had worked so hard to regain my strength and flexibility. It all came flooding back to me!

My first day at therapy, Mike walked next to me as I pushed my walker through the door. Now, I had known Kari before I got sick. We had actually worked together because I had shoulder surgery . I hadn't even finished therapy from that when I got sick. I had no hair, translucent skin, atrophied muscles and blurred vision. I remember going into one of the rooms and needing help to get up on the table so Kari could figure out where we were starting from. Little did she know we were starting from less than zero!!

Three days a week, I made my way to Peak Performance, thanks to my father-in-law. He would drive me there and then go run errands while I struggled through weight lifting and stretching. I always started by walking a little to warm up. I remember being so proud when I walked a quarter mile on the treadmill for the first time. Although it was hard work and sometimes very frustrating, we laughed a lot!!! We had to, otherwise I think we both would have cried or given up! We finally made it to a point that I had to just keep going on my own! Thanks in part to crappy insurance, of course, but I probably could have found any excuse to stay there in that comfortable gym for ever. I had to push myself and make a go of it alone!

That's when I hit rock bottom! I spent nearly all of my days at home alone. No motivation anymore and no one to process this nightmare with. I sat around, cried, watched tv and knit all while eating to kill the pain. I gained the weight back that I had lost while in the hospital, but I also gained an extra 30 pounds to lug around. I was lonely and miserable and fat! I was angry all of the time and bitter that I was having to go through all of this. It was a very dark time for me. I knew that I had to make a change or surviving in the hospital was nothing more than living so that I could come home and suffer through the rest of my life. I made the choice to choose a different life for myself and my family.

And that is when it all started! I had set the goal of running the Fox Citiies Marathon 5k. It was my goal to run 3.1 miles outside on the pavement, like everyone else that day. But I had to start all over again and began by walking on the treadmill. It was a long haul and after training on the treadmill for as long as possible, I had to give it a shot! Running outside was 10 times harder than I thought it would be. I felt as though I was running on sand and the muscles in my legs felt like useless rubber bands. It was going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done! But I did it! I ran it, walked through the water station, but finished it all on my own!

So tonight, here I sit with ice on my heel and aches in my joints I hoped I had avoided, waiting for the big day! Only one long training run left, and that's 11 miles on Sunday. The excitement of the day is gettng more and more intense as the days pass by. And the horror of the reason I am doing this is getting further and further away. What a great time to be alive!!

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