Why I Run

If you’re a runner, I’m sure you’ve been asked the inevitable “Why?!”  I think it’s a wonderful thing for those that run for others, for those that can’t run, but for me, I run because I CAN.

When I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with scoliosis.  My spine curved like an “S”, because the lower vertebrae were separated (spinal bifita).  Scoliosis is hereditary, but because of the spinal bifita, my family and I think it was caused by my dad’s exposure as an Air Force mechanic to Agent Orange in what was then Cambodia during the Vietnam War.    I was put in a brace for two years.  The only time I was allowed to take it of was for dance class and swimming.

Mine was like this, but it went around my shoulders instead of my neck.

The doctor thought my spine would stop moving when I stopped growing, but it didn’t.  Instead the upper curve began to affect the function of my heart and lungs.  I had corrective surgery.  My husband tells people I have a bionic spine.  I have 2 Herrington rods, screws to correct the bifita, and my lowest left rib was removed and used as a graft to fuse all but the lowest vertebrae together.

This is not me, but it’s pretty close.
A great way to start middle school, right?  And back in 1988, there was no physical therapy.  It was “get up and walk, then go home.”  I didn’t complete an entire school day for the first semester.  P.E. was completely out.  After about 6 months I went back to dance classes, but that was the only exercise I got.  Nobody wanted me to hurt my back.
After college, I started having muscle spasms and realized from PT that I needed to strengthen the muscles in my back.  I’m still working on that.  But I never thought that running, or any other sport, was in the cards for me.   When I discovered it, 24 years after surgery, I realized that it would take longer to progress and be harder than for most people.  After all, I’m still crooked.  My shoulders tilt and my hips are out of alignment.  But I love the accomplishment that I felt completing my first 5K, and every other race since.  So I run because I CAN.  And I’m not willing to give up on that.
Why do you run? 

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One Response to Why I Run

  1. Pingback: Space Coast Half 2015 recap | Runs With Glitter

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