I can’t tell you the exact moment when I fell in love with running, but I can tell you the moment I realized that I loved to run. I know it sounds silly to talk about falling in love with running like I would about my husband or family but in my world running is that important.
Like so many of the things in our lives that we love it happens slowly over time and then in an instant – all at once – you realize you love it more than you ever knew you did. It’s that moment that changes everything. That moment in time that changes your entire outlook of this thing, person, or place you now know without a doubt that you love. For me, that moment about running came in December 2012.
On September 29, 2012 I married my husband Gil, who also happens to be the person who challenged me to start running in the first place. After a magical wedding and even more magical honeymoon we returned home and got back to our normal running routine.
On October 5th it was still pretty warm outside so we decided to forgo our planned gym night and to run around the lake across the street instead. As we waited at the cross-walk of the four lane – divided intersection, I made note of the car that would be making a left turn when the light changed. As the walk sign flashed for us to go we stepped off the curb and I looked at the approaching car and made eye contact with the driver making the turn. The only problem was he didn’t see us.
Gil was hit and I was run over.
As I heard the rev of the engine, it was a new model mustang, I yelled for Gil and tried to pull him back but I missed his arm and only caught the edge of his sleeve. He was hit in his side and picked up onto the hood of the car. I was planted and twisted as his sleeve was pulled out of my hand and the passenger side front tire ran over both of my feet and the side view mirror smashed into my left arm as the car moved past me. It was just about that time that the driver realized what had happened. Just as the rear passenger tire made contact with my left foot he braked.
It was also the braking of the car that sent Gll off of the hood and onto the pavement like a sack of flour hitting the pavement. I thought for sure that he was gone. He wasn’t though and to this day I’m sure our Guardian Angels were all there for us that day. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I am incredibly thankful for them.
It could have been so much worse.
Between the two of us there were multiple contusions, lots of bruises, a concussion, but amazingly only one broken bone. It was that torque of the rear passenger tire braking that ended up breaking my second metatarsal in my left foot. It had actually managed to diagonally break and vertically fracture the same tiny bone. Lucky for me, the break was actually clean and didn’t need any intervention outside of a boot and being non-weight bearing for 10 weeks.
It was at about week 8 that I had my moment that I knew just how much I loved running. At this point I knew that the damage done was on the mend. My husband was alive, I would heal with time, and we would be OK. But as I sat on our bed without my boot on, I looked at what remained of my once strong calf muscle and I started to cry. Gil came to check on me and asked what was wrong and all I could manage was “will I ever get to run again?”
In that moment it hit me. I had just gotten to the point before our accident that I looked forward to running. That it didn’t feel like a chore to be done at the end of a work-day. Runs had become a source of solace and stress relief, time to disconnect from all the abstract worries of life and connect with everything in that present moment. It had been taken away and I was distraught. I’d lost my love.
It would be a few more weeks before I would be allowed to put weight on my leg and longer still before I would complete my physical therapy. Even then it took me a while to mend my relationship with running. I joined my Fleet Feet family in July 2013 and that was the final puzzle piece that rekindled the flame in all its glory. When I crossed the finish line of my first post-accident 5k , pictured right, I will never forget the sheer joy of being able to experience that again. I was overwhelmed. Even as I write this now, I still tear up just remembering that morning.
Before the accident I never understood the power that a mantra can have when you’re struggling through a hard run or when you feel like giving up, or even when you just don’t feel like running at all. I get it now. While my circumstances weren’t nearly as bad as many others have experienced, they were transformative for me. Because I was thisclose to not being able to run again. So when I’m feeling kind of blah or struggling I just have to remember my mantra:
Every day is a good day to go for a run because I can.