I had seen the Peninsula Pulse in local stores over the weekend, and as we headed home I flipped through it while we stopped for some coffee. The front page was the half marathon that I myself had run in on Saturday [May 7]. But I didn’t expect what I found in the article: the woman who had won the race last year had been hit by a car eight years ago. The article mentioned her training and recovery [“Rekindling Joy: How 2021 Half Marathon Winner Fell Back in Love with Running,” May 6, 2022]. But what stood out to me was how Relena Ribbons, last year’s winner, talked about the joy of running.
I would imagine that most runners can relate to that, but her story struck a particular chord with me. Two years ago, in February 2020, I was hit and run over by a pick-up truck. I was med-flighted to the nearest hospital, where I returned several times over the next few months for more surgeries, tubes, and needles. I stayed with my parents while I recovered, and for months I spent my days and nights alike in a certain green chair in their living room. Unable to move faster than a shuffle or even feed myself, I sat in my chair and dreamed of the runs I would take – the routes, the burn in my legs, the sweat prickling on my face.
It’s been, of course, a long road to get where I am today. I don’t need to tell you that. I’ll tell you instead that I ran the Door County Half Marathon May 7, the first half marathon and race of any kind that I’ve run since my accident. My wonderful friends came to support me (if you saw three women screaming so loudly and so long that you worried about their vocal cords – those were mine). The sun was warm, the birds were singing, and the breeze smelled like pine. I was able to move my body. Now, I’m not Relena Ribbons and I didn’t “win” the half marathon. But for me, and I think for many of the other participants, it was a win just to be running there, together, on a warm spring day.
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin