I'm a back of the pack runner, way back. I feel like us back of the packers are forgotten.
We reach the finish line and the only ones to cheer us in and congratulate us are the few family and friends who chose to wait. The food and drinks are depleted. The freebies and goodies are all picked over. Most of you have left, never even realizing that some of us are still out there working our way mile by mile to the finish line.
I want to paint you a picture of just who this back of the packer is.
15 knee surgeries. 20 female surgeries. 4 miscellaneous surgeries. Brain surgery (Jan 2013). Chiari Malformation. Metabolic Disorder. Suspected Mitochondrial Disease. Yep you also guessed it, I'm "that" fat girl.
Wife. Mother of 5. 3 special needs children. I held my 3 1/2 yr old son while he took his final breathes in my arms (April 2013). Watched as his coffin was lowered into the ground. I continued living, breathing, moving forward.
After my son passed away I started walking because I needed something, anything to keep me moving forward; to help me pass the time. At some point I thought maybe I could run to the mailbox or the corner. This slowly progressed.
I heard about a HM on May 4, 2014. I knew that had to be my first race, ready or not. May 4, 2013 is the day my son was buried, that race would be for Eli.
It was a brutal race. I wasn't ready. I pulled a muscle in my leg at mile one. I fought for every single mile to the finish line, never stopping, never taking any of the outs offered to me.
It was a struggle to get back to my training.
My mottos kept me going. "The cure for pain is in the pain." and "May the pounding of your feet crush the broken pieces into something new."
I have increased my running distances. I can run miles now without stopping. Slow but steady miles. My pace hasn't increased. My distance is slow to increase. BUT I'm still doing it.
I am a PERSON, a history, a story, a journey. I have fought for every mile just like the front of the packers, the speedsters.
When you pass us cheer us on too, smile, wave, and respect us. Don't make snide comments, don't say we don't belong, don't whisper and laugh.
Sometimes be there at the finish line cheering us on, for our hard fought win.
We are the back of the packers, we are athletes, we are champions, we are RUNNERS!