Why would I be excited to run another marathon?

I ran the New York City Marathon the last two years. After running the first one, I lost a couple of toenails, could barely walk for several days and had tendonitis so bad that I couldn’t exercise for two months.

The second one, which I ran in November, was worse, and I’m still recovering. The effect of that marathon went beyond the usual lost toenails and muscle soreness. Two days after the race, I started seeing blood in my urine and feeling terrible pain in on the right side of my abdomen.

Tests showed that my kidneys were functioning at a very low level. This can be caused by dehydration from the run, and the effects can be temporary or permanent. The doctor advised me to give up running — meaning no more marathons. He also said to rest for a month, then get re-tested.

I stopped running. I rested and drank a lot of fluids. But I couldn’t give up the hope of running in NYC again. A month later, my kidney function was a still low, but better. The bleeding and abdominal pain were not better. Over the next three months, I dealt with a ruptured ovarian cyst, saw countless specialists and had multiple tests. It has been a long, emotional, frustrating and painful process. For four months, I haven’t slept well because of the pain and worry about what was happening to my body.

How could I have done this much damage to myself and still desire to run 26.2 miles again? Yet, last week, when the underlying cause of the pain was finally diagnosed, I was thrilled to know that I would be able to run again! The cause? A combination of several things, including low kidney function, a bleeding ureter, ovarian cysts and strained psoas muscle (the hip-flexor muscle).

Now that I have been given the all clear to run another marathon, I am elated to continue my mission of raising awareness and money to support the 6 million stroke survivors through the National Stroke Association.

It is important to me because I can. I can run. I can run when millions cannot. It is a blessing, and I will bear the pain gladly in hopes that I can do something to help.

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