From Fibro to Finish Line
3 months ago Porsche couldn’t run for more than minute without gasping for air. Running would have her grabbing for her inhaler, and wondering if she could make it around the block, let alone a 5k course. Asthma has been a lifelong struggle for Porsche, and with a fibromyalgia back in February of 2016, she wasn’t sure she would ever be able to see her fitness goals. She didn’t want to let her diagnoses keep her from surprising her husband and making a big impression! The guidance, and coaching she received form Coach Kaitlyn gave her the confidence and accountability she needed to make her dream a reality. Read more about her journey below.
3 months ago I couldn’t run for 1 minute without gasping for air, grabbing my inhaler, and wondering if I would get a chance to say my goodbyes to my husband before I collapsed in exhaustion. Asthma was always a common struggle in my life, but to top it off, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia back in February of 2016. It was such a relief to finally have answers for my chronic pain and lack of athleticism.
Though a death sentence for many, I was determined to find a way to get in shape and keep up with my nature loving, adventuresome, military fit husband in some way. On our hikes I’m the slow one that he’s waiting to catch up, or the one taking breaks non-stop and holding him back. After a genetics test stated that I had the muscle composition of an “elite athlete: sprinter”, I decided to take up running just to see what that test was made of. My motivation? My husband. I never wanted to be the slow, tired, “how much further is it?” hiker wife that he had been putting up with for the past 4 years.
I had to make a change. No more starting and stopping, and giving up. It was time to get serious about getting in shape. I would become the wife that gave her husband a run for the money! Not to mention his promises to buy me a puppy if I could run a full marathon in less than 6 hours… 😊 There was a long journey ahead, but I had to start somewhere.
September 30th, 2017 marked the day of my first run. It was that day that I set out to surprise my husband by starting to run consistently and eventually being able to run a full 5K in 30 minutes or less. I would start the journey and surprise him on Christmas Day by inviting him to run a 5K with me and spilling the beans on what I had been doing. Originally, I started out doing the Couch to 5K program, but after 6 weeks I knew I needed something personalized and just for me.
That’s when I reached out to Andrew, and he matched me up with my coach Kaitlyn Morgan. I told her of my plans to surprise my husband and she put me on the journey to success! Hiding my running plans from my husband was no small task. Each day I had to wait until he left for work before I put on my running gear and headed out for my run. He would never guess that I would go running alone early in the mornings, in CO’s 40 degree weather, or even that I would run period!
I got a secret card to charge my monthly coaching plans on and did back to back runs when my husband had an extra day off just so that he wouldn’t know I was running. This started off as a surprise for my husband, but it turned into the development of a passion for running.
Thanksgiving of 2017 was my first race. We were visiting my husband’s parents in Iowa. It was only a 2.5 mile run but I was absolutely positive that I wouldn’t make it past the first mile marker. I scheduled this run with my husband to see how I was progressing with my times and mileage. He had no idea it was for this reason, but he was down for doing a race with me for fun. My sister in law and cousins came as well.
As soon as the starting gun sounded, everyone took off. My husband said he would be surprised if I could run 10 ft. without stopping. He said he would come back for me. I rolled my eyes. There I was alone in Iowa running my first race. All I had was the dust left behind from my cousins, sister in law, and husband’s speedy Gonzalez start. I didn’t let it keep me down. I told myself I would at least run 1 mile without stopping. By this time that seemed nearly impossible especially with the never-ending hills of Iowa.
I saw people of all types pass me. Young children running past, men in their 60s, dogs, and whole families zipped along past me. I knew I just had to keep my feet moving. It had only been 15 mins, but I could feel my legs tightening and about to give out. I still kept going.
And then… a miracle happened! Somehow, there it was…the one-mile marker. I could finally stop running and take a break. But for some reason my legs kept moving. I thought to myself “what if I could keep going? Just keep moving Porsche!”. So, I did just that. It was the longest I had ever run so far, but I kept going. At about the mile and a half marker, a man that was running looked over at me and said “good job”. I smiled because that meant the world to me. I just needed to hear that I was doing a good job and that I could really do this.
There it was…the two-mile marker and my legs were still moving. A tear fell down my face as I realized that this was the biggest obstacle I had ever faced and yet there I was overcoming. Just a half-mile left until I had ran for a full 2.5 miles. The first 2.5 miles of running without breaks ever in my life!
My legs were starting to give out, my breaths were struggling, and I just wanted it to be over. I heard my name from a distance and there was my husband, coming back for me! I couldn’t believe my eyes. He really came back for me! He had finished the race and came back to cheer me on. He ran to me and grabbed my hand to run alongside me.
There we were, holding hands and running. The last hill stood looming before me. My sister in law had also joined us. They were saying things like “you got this Porsche, you can do this!”. My husband was mind blown that my legs were still moving! “Let’s go, faster!” he said. I looked at him like he had 3 heads because the fact that I was still moving was a miracle in itself, let alone trying to increase speed!
But again, I went for it. I SPRINTED the last .2 miles and literally ran for my life! “Now that’s the way to finish!” said an encouraging man on the sidelines. As I ran across that finish line, I knew that I had made it. That running was it. I had found my forever love. The adrenaline soared through my veins. I did it. I ran 2.5 miles in the chilly 30s and rocky hills of Iowa without stopping. I finished in 45 minutes, under an hour. It was the furthest I had ever run. The fibro girl made it to the finish line!
My husband in that moment told me “I am the most proud of you now than I have ever been!” Little did he know, the surprises weren’t over…
Fast forward to Christmas 2017, it was time to let the cat out of the bag! That morning I surprised my husband when I shared my training log detailing everything that I had been doing over the past several months. I knew he wouldn’t believe me so I included pictures, and Facebook posts for evidence! He was impressed, proud, and shocked that I would do something like this and that I would fall in love with any physical activity, much less running! We are on track to run our first 5K together within the next few months!
I am truly grateful for Coach Kaitlyn and the team at Lifelong Endurance. She’s made it possible for an out of shape, asthma struggling fibro girl to run her first race of many more to come. I’ll be doing marathons in no time! My next personal challenge: #100daysofrunning starting January 1, 2018. I’ve found a passion, I have goals, and I’ve truly found a purpose and a vision for my life with running! Thank you Coach Kaitlyn and Lifelong Endurance!!
Want to follow Porsche’s journey? You can find her sharing her running journey on her blog.