Why hello hello! For those of you who know me, it's that time of year again to pick what ridiculous event will be done this year. Each year, I make a pact with myself to pursue a new challenge. So! Since I am 26 this year, running 26.2 miles seemed like the perfect fit. Here I am week in and week out training for my first marathon. While in the midst of training though, something seemed missing. After all, that is a lot of time and snacks to put into one event! So I asked myself what did this race mean to me?
As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2013. Though definitely a challenge at times, I have been beyond lucky in always being able to bounce back and keep pursuing what I love: design, sports, and traveling. Last summer, my MS plummeted to a new low. Barely being able to walk in a straight line and having a delay in my eyesight focusing, all sorts of training was tossed out the window. I just went from biking 150 miles on the weekend to looking like a drunkard while walking. Have no worries though, as the story does have a happy ending!
With school around the corner and the relapse lasting almost 3 months now, medicinal backup was recruited. While intense steroids come with their own side effects, I could finally walk straight again. Sure, I was not completely back to 100% but it was significantly better! Until my legs recovered from the steroids, I would walk instead of running. First a mile. Then a mile faster. Next two miles and so on. I did this for about two weeks before feeling ready to start running again.
That fall semester, one of the Virginia Triathlon ladies started a weekly Wednesday morning run. One Tuesday evening, I decided to go for it. I emailed Jessica* and asked her about the speed and distance. She said it would be about 3 miles and not to worry about the speed as it would be accommodating. I went out that morning and was welcomed by smiles and introductions from both strangers and familiar faces. Then we ran. Though definitely not as fast as the others, it was still a good time. It felt good to be out there again. I would continue to keep attending the runs where I would end up meeting wonderful friends and training buddies.
Thanks to Jessica’s weekly runs and the rest of the team’s practices and wonderful personalities, I would slowly get back into racing shape and speed. I ended that fall season with the ability to race one sprint triathlon with the team in October and a very successful half marathon later on in November.
In April, I had the privilege of competing in the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships. As a graduating senior, this meant a lot to me. I could not think of a better way to end my college career. It had been quite the year in terms of health and this would be a great way to come full circle. Seeing all the athletes and schools from across the nation come together to compete on the same course was truly remarkable. But then to be able to race with everyone, wow! That feeling will forever stay with me. That is why I have decided to dedicate my first marathon to Sportable, a local sports adaptive organization right here in Richmond. With me running the Richmond Marathon in November, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to tie the two together and give back to the local community.
So why Sportable?
Sportable strives to transform the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities through sports. This is something I personally wholeheartedly believe in. By utilizing sports as an outlet, Sportable allows their athletes to see beyond their disabilities, enforcing a can do attitude through visible results. Sportable also builds a welcoming community where teammates and amazing friends can be made. Lastly, they facilitate a physical and attitudinal change in the Richmond, VA community.
Please help me come together to spread the joy of an adaptive sports community to others. I am hoping to raise $1000 for Sportable by November 14th, my marathon day. This money will help to ensure athletes keep receiving proper training, equipment, locations to train, and any transportation needed to and from events. All donations are appreciated, no matter what the amount! Thank you for helping spread this joy to others, for sports are more than just sports, they are a sense of defying all odds.
*names were changed
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