Not everyone finds it easy to slip on a pair of running shoes. It’s not always as simple as buying shoes and starting to shuffle around the block. For many, there are other barriers that make it hard to to keep going or even start. Like race advice, you can know to do and your mind tells you but your heart often has to be involved to make things work.
This week’s blog is about a Canadian runner who battled hard to get where she is today.
Laurie is a 45 year old freelance writer from Brantford, Ont., is married and has two children. Other than being a writer, wife and mom, Laurie also likes to run, but it did not always come easy to Laurie.
Describing herself as obese since the age of 5, Laurie says she stayed that way until about 15 years ago when she decided she’d had enough. “I had reached an estimated 380 lbs and was dying inside. I wanted to be a backpacker, so I took up hiking. That turned into backpacking and canoe trips and the weight started to come off slowly. In 2001, our home burned to the ground and, despite having to eat in restaurants for months, I managed to continue to make lifestyle changes and lose weight.”
Things seemed to be going well and Laurie was active and feeling good. Then life threw Laurie another challenge. After losing well over 100 pounds, she was diagnosed with diabetes. Insulin was prescribed.
Laurie put her head down and battled away. Through diet and exercise she managed to get off insulin and another medication she had been taking.
In May 2011 Laurie decided she needed a new challenge. She wanted to be a runner and she chose a symbolic run for diabetes to mark her achievement. She says she was scared because of a family history littered with early heart disease. She was prescribed an EKG. The results came back and she had issues caused largely from being overweight for many years.
In January 2012 she was told not to run until they knew more. One month later Laurie was given the green light to put sneaker to pavement and start running. In an eerie reminder of family history, a few days later her brother died of heart disease at the age of 56.
Using running as a therapy, Laurie worked through her grief and make a commitment not to follow in her brother’s footsteps. Laurie ran the Team Diabetes 5K as the top fundraiser.
“Something happened at the finish line that day though […] It was a new beginning. I fell in love with running.”
After having issues with her training, Laurie was told by her cardiologist that running had probably saved her life. He told her she would have to build up her body’s ability to cycle enough oxygen for running. She was told not to give up on a plan to run a full marathon as long as she pays attention to her body.
“I think that is one of the things I love about running. […] We can do so much good for others while doing good for ourselves. Win-win,” says Laurie.
Laurie does not consider herself a fast runner, but since 2012 has set personal bests in the 5K, 10K and half-marathon.
Toughness is not always for the super, whippet-thin elites who grind and focus like monks through their dizzying marathon runs. Toughness can also be seen in the everyday runner, who battles through personal struggles to the light on the other side.
Keep on running, Laurie.
See you on the roads or in the blogosphere.
Do you have a running story to share?