I call myself a runner, although I am not sure that is a completely accurate description of what I do. I walk/run, so maybe I am a "wunner", or a "ralker". The point is that I do what my body allows me to do without completely exhausting my muscles. I have Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic "disease", which causes certain muscles of my body to atrophy, or waste away. I first noticed symptoms about five years ago, during my first pregnancy. With my type of MD, adult onset is the norm. I was not diagnosed until last year, and I remember feeling depressed and scared because I have watched my dad suffer from the effects of this same disease since his late twenties.
Around the time of my diagnosis, I decided to run my first 5K. I have often been accused of being stubborn, a trait, which I sport proudly. Stubborn people are world changers, and I was determined to atleast change MY world. Running was my way of fighting the diagnosis I had just received. As my dad would say, in his most articulate way, I gave it the bird- and not the flying type. And only in the figurative sense, as I am not really the bird giving type. (My dad, on the other hand gives the bird as frequently as possible- both figuratively, and most often literally.) So, now you see where I get that ol' stubborn trait...
And so I began- weak, overweight, out of shape, and recovering from two pregnancies in two years. I could run for two to three minutes and needed to rest for another two to three minutes. Using a training plan I found online, I prepared for my race. It took me 47 minutes to complete, and I felt like I may pass out and die, or vomit at the least. Or vomit and then pass out and die... But, I didn't. Finishing second to last in the race made me even more determined to keep at it.
My second race was the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5K. It took me 44 minutes to complete that one. The sense of accomplishment that I felt for finishing the same distance a full three minutes faster was amazing! And so it has gone over the last year. I have now run 11 races of varying distances, including one half marathon. Each race, I have run more and walked less, and felt great about myself. Yesterday, a little over one year later, I ran a 5k in under 38 minutes. By under, I mean just seconds under. But, hey, the point is I broke 38 minutes! I am training for a half marathon in a month and a half, and have a whole list of other races I expect to complete in the next year.
I still have difficulty lifting my arms above my head and I have a hard time doing even a single situp, but I am a RUNNER. I may never win in a race against other runners. Let's face it, there are some super-humanly fast people out there, and my 12 minute pace is not going to get me ahead of them. But, regardless of my speed or pace or "mile splits" as we runners call them, I have decided I am running a race for no one other than myself. "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith- 2 Tim. 4:7" I will keep running to win my own race, until my body is completely and miraculously healed, or a cure is found!