I’ve shared this story on here before. Ten years ago I got hit by a car on my bike. It was bad. I was in a wheelchair for a bit, and all of my normal sarcasm aside, I’m pretty lucky to be alive. Or so the ED doctors told me after examining the numerous dents in my helmet. Side note, while in the hospital I reached out to the then President of Ohio State University, Gordon Gee, to see if he’d like me to do a university-wide speaking engagement on helmet advocacy. He never responded. Weird. Also, stay tuned, I haven’t given up.
After the accident, I did a year of rehab. I did it all, physical therapy, yoga, pilates, weight training, massage, chiropractor appointments, more physical therapy. And, the most fun–re-learning how to run. I worked with an amazing place in Columbus that helped me re-master a running stride after some pretty substantial injuries to my knee and hip. We started with walking, and then running for a few minutes at a time, all the way up to 3-miles. This took me 6-months.
Now let me clarify, I’ve never been a track star, but I’ve always been decently athletic, and before the accident, I could easily pump out some 7 or 8-min miles for long distances at a time. Post accident—not so much. I can run, and I do run, but when I go too fast my hip hurts and my knee hurts, and my body just says no. I sometimes get frustrated that my mile times now inch into the 10 or 11-min marks, and that at times I need to stop and walk. At times, I get down on myself or admittedly a little jealous of my faster friends. Is there anything better than the feeling of running fast?
I was especially being down on myself about the Queen Bee, which Molly and I are doing next month. On top of the residual effects of my past injuries, between constant travel, moving, and new professional endeavors I haven’t been religious about sticking to our training schedule. For that reason, I’m anticipating that I will need to run walk the half. And like I said, I was feeling down on myself. My mind started chattering nonsense. Why can’t I run faster? If I need to walk that’s failure. I should have trained harder. I’m an ambassador. What will people think if I’m not fast? Damn, that voice in our head is a real bitch sometimes.
Then, on Saturday Molly, my hubby, some other pals, and I ran the Hudey run downtown. At various points during the race, I scanned the group of runners around me. The people running in front of me, behind me, and with me. I saw people of all shapes and sizes, all fitness levels, all speeds. Some folks were walking, some sprinting, some limping, some laughing, and one guy was puking. I see you, man. I have been you.
While scanning the crowd I felt a sudden urge to cry. I was reminded that I’m lucky. I’m lucky to be able to run, walk/run, and just plain walk. I was reminded that it doesn’t matter if I crawl the Queen Bee because I’m out there doing it, just like everyone around me was out there doing it during the Hudey. There was no judgment of anyone from other racers, there was simply pure support. Because if you’ve ever run or walked any race you get it. Some days or years you can run a 7-min mile, and some days or years you’re just grateful you’re able to cross the finish line.
I don’t typically get dramatic about getting hit by a car, being in a wheelchair, or the work that went into getting back to a place of good physical health. In fact, not many people in my life really know the details of that year because I don’t like to dwell on it. But sometimes it’s important for me to reflect and to give gratitude for exactly where I am today, and how far I’ve come. Through this Queen Bee Ambassador process, I’ve been some pretty amazing women, some of those work for the Queen Bee. It’s also important to give gratitude for these women. Thank you, friends, for not picking only ambassadors who might win the half, or who are pumping out those 6-min miles. Thank you for choosing ambassadors of all shapes and sizes, of all speeds, with different stories and obstacles to overcome. Thank you for empowering me and pushing me to do this race. I am grateful.