Running for the Heart of it

Half marathonThe Bourbon Derbyphoto 2 (5)

Growing up, I used to fall all the time. My mom took me to several doctors and with no diagnosis, I learned to live with it. Walking around, I got used to falling. It seemed my ankle would “konk” out and I’d fall. Through many falls, I learned to catch myself, so I would look like I was about to fall and then regain my balance. This problem didn’t affect my sports, as many times it would happen while walking in my day to day life. I played soccer for most of my elementary years, though never would have imagined actually enjoying running. I detested when my coaches changed my position to midfield, as I would have to run more and more.

During middle school, high school, and my college years, I would run from time to time, but rollerblading became my main source of exercise. Throughout these years my feet, and ankles, began to bother me. Falling was no longer my main issue, but pain. The summer after graduating college, my feet hit a stopping point. The day after a long walk/jog, sharp pains shot from my feet up my legs with every step I took. Soon I went to see a couple doctors. The first doc diagnosed planters fasciitis. The next doc stated he didn’t know what it was exactly, but it definitely wasn’t planters fasciitis. He scheduled me for a procedure that would pinpoint the placement of the pain.

My mother was having some of her classmates from a Chaplaincy class visit. One of them was trained in Reiki. She was willing to perform a session, and I thought why not? Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction. The word is made up of two Japanese words: Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. It is a “laying on hands” touch-less massage that uses life energy forces to work through areas of stress in the body. During the session I was told to think of a calming color surging through my body working out the areas of tension and stress. In my case, my ankles and feet.

I must admit, I had my doubts as I didn’t feel instantaneously healed. I did recognize a change a few days before my scheduled procedure. In fact, the day before I was on a mission to do everything that would usually hurt my feet. I went for a long rollerblade which would usually kill my ankles. No pain. I went for a long walk in really bad shoes. No pain. I jumped up and down. I pounded my feet on the pavement. Still NO PAIN. My mom and I went to the hospital the next day and told the doctor that I no longer had any pain in my feet. He called off the procedure.

I didn’t start running because I wanted to. I began my career as a runner because I could. I knew that if I couldn’t run for whatever reason, that I would want to. Fortunately, running has become one of my passions. I can now say I love running. I love the endorphins. I love taking in the scenery around my as I run. I love the community that is formed through running on public trails and in races. I love the causes that are supported through entry fees. I do love being awarded a medal [especially nowadays – they’re so creatively crafted!]. I love the shirts. I love running because I can. Nothing is stopping me.

I’ve been healed and I run for the heart of it.

To donate on my behalf to the American Heart Association, please click on the following link: http://cincinnati.kintera.org/heartmini/sarahsmithcleftrock I will be running in the Heart Half-Marathon on March 15, 2015.

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