From Heartache to Running Princess

From Heartache to Running Princess

by Susan G.

10 months ago I sat in a doctor’s office and heard the results of a series of tests.  I was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that caused my blood vessels to constrict rather than open when my heart rate rose.  (This is not a woe is me story.)  Immediately my doctor told me no more training or races, he even withstood my debating skills as I tried different tactics to get him to allow me to do something.  With some alterations to my diet, some medication and tons of determination I was shortly released back to the sport that started it all – running!

Very excited, I immediately signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Slowly I added mileage as I kept my pace slow and took walking breaks every 3 minutes to ensure my heart rate remained low.  After 4 months of training in the snow and cold with a dedicated group of ladies, I crossed the finish line. I had a huge smile on my face while tears of joy went running down my cheeks as I had reached my goal – I finished a half marathon!

Still on a runner’s high, I signed up for another half marathon thanks to my persuasive friend.   Suddenly it dawned on me, now what?  I had made it across the finish line as a princess but that wasn’t enough.  I wanted to push myself but was fearful that my competitive side would overcome and I would push my heart past its limits.  That’s when I reached out to Experience Triathlon.  Coach Suzy was the perfect Yin to my Yang.  She knew how to push my buttons to motivate me but figured out how to rein me in when I went too far.  Her advice took my running to a place I didn’t know how to get to.

So I made it to race day.  It’s a balmy 54 degrees and pouring rain when we pull into our parking spot.  At this moment, I had nothing but fear – I had never attempted to run 13.1 in the rain.  How would my body react?  Would I get so blistered I wouldn’t be able to walk?  Would my bib disintegrate and my chip not register as I crossed the finish line?  My husband, noticing the fear, looked at me and said, “You’ve trained for this.  You can do it.”  At that moment, Suzy’s coaching kicked in.  You can only control yourself on race day and know that you have done everything to get there.  My fear subsided and so did the rain.  I kept those thoughts in my mind as I ran my race.  It must have worked (so did the training), as I PR’d by 20 minutes!  After hugging my husband at the finish line I immediately texted Suzy.  “The sun, the moon, the stars and everything else lined up!”

My take away from all of this is this.  We can’t control what is handed to us, whether it’s a health issue, the weather on race day or what flavor of gel you like the most.  But what you can do is use your inner determination to reach your goals and make sure that you ask for help along the way.

The tiara always shines brightest for those who earn it!

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  • TanyaL11

    Wow!! Wow! Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. You are so right about what we
    Can and cannot control. Plus, finding the right coaches and team to work with helps make this journey a true joy! Congrats on your PR! I am sure you will have many more.

    • Sgotham724

      I’m glad you got a good lesson out of my article.

  • Sarah F.

    What a beautiful and inspiring story, Susan!!  Thank you so much for sharing this with us all, and summing up what an important piece of our journeys optimism and determination play!  🙂

  • James Riga

    After reading your story I’ve realized that its these experiences that truly inspire people. Thanks for the inspiration and good luck on your next challenge.

    • Sgotham724

      I’m g;ad I could be an inspiration.  I will continue to forge and share any triumphs and defeats.

  • Congratulations Susan!  Gotta love those “everything goes right” kind of days. 🙂

  • Congrats again Susan on your amazing day!  Thanks so much for sharing your story.  I’m certain it will inspire others to become everything they are meant to become.  So glad you’re part of our crew! 🙂

  • Cathy Obordo

    Susan – you are an amazing woman!!  I’m so happy to hear that you achieved your racing goals.  Your determination, spirit and the ET coaching staff will help you achieve many more of your dreams to come.  Congratulations!!!