Race for Hope 5K, and whatever happened to C25K?

2 May

There are very few things in my life that I need answers to. I know why I gained so much weight, why I’ve had problems with school and social relationships, and what I need(ed) to do to right some wrongs I’ve done to myself and others. I’ve had one nagging question since I was a little kid, and I’ve never gotten an answer.

“Why do I have Epilepsy???”

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before on the blog, but I’ve suffered from had Primary Generalized Absence Seizures for almost 19 years, and it’s greatly affected my life. I have memory, coordination and balance issues, and I’ve had to give up a lot of activities I loved, like video games, some concerts and clubs, skiing and gymnastics. Like 67% of all epileptics, I’ve also had the co-syndrome of depression and, for me, it’s been the biggest challenge. 70% of all kids with PGA seizures outgrow them, and I did at 12. However, when I was 18, it reared its little head again, and I became one of the few adults with childhood epilepsy. I don’t like to be called a victim or a sufferer, because it could always be much worse. I’ve lived on my own, have no brain damage and having been seizure-free for 9 years, I can drive a car. I’m on medications that have few side effects, and my last brain scan three years ago showed a normal brain.
If I’m okay, then why am I talking about it now?
Because with all I know about PGA, the one thing I don’t know is why.
It’s idiopathic, meaning there aren’t known causes in every case, but can be hereditary. I’m the only one in the family as far back as four generations that I could trace with epilepsy, so it’s a really frustrating answer, and without further research and education by the scientific community, I’ll never know. One way to raise money for research is to participate in fundraisers, so when I heard that the Epilepsy Foundation of Cincinnati was coming to Huntington to start the Race for Hope 5K on May 1st, I knew I needed to sign up. I ended up deciding to walk instead of run, thinking about how much easier it would be.

There was nothing easy about it.

5k is about 3.1 miles, which sounds like nothing, right? It sounded so simple, and every time E would bring it up, I’d brush it off. Never mind that last January, I couldn’t walk a half mile without stopping 2 or 3 times. Never mind that I hadn’t been to the gym in the last week. Whatever, it’s just a 5k. Before the race, I gave myself 2 requirements: finish in 60 minutes, and don’t finish last. I didn’t want to be the one everyone was waiting on or the one that got left behind. I never once took a moment and patted myself on the back for signing up, showing up or doing my best, and I should have.

When the walk started, I power-walked for a little bit, but literally two minutes in, my shins were on fire. Right away, I freaked out, and knew I wouldn’t make it. The walk became more about making it to the next volunteer than leaving folks in the dust, and somewhere along the way it became more about the hope than about the race. I realized that I’ve wasted so much time beating myself up over all the things that I can’t do that I’ve never given a thought to all that I can and that so many people can’t, including walking. I walked for the me’s that I have been, am and want to be. I walked by a funeral and walked on for the someone in the hearse that couldn’t. I walked by Marshall University, and walked on for the people who thought I’d never make it there and those that did. I walked by my bank, our favorite restaurants and city hall. I didn’t stop walking, not even once, not even for a second. I stopped checking the time, my heart rate and the calories burned, because in the moment, they just didn’t matter. At some point, I snapped out of my internal dialogues, and realized that I was almost there. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried as I got closer and closer, and it was so amazingly cathartic. I could feel the pressure, pain and anger slip away, and what was left was just me. I crossed the finish line exhausted and calm, and met up with E, who was waiting for me.
So, how did I do?

With an official time of 52:27 (16:53 pace), I ranked:
81 out of 107 participants
18 out of 42 walkers
5 out of 6 overall in the 25-29 division
38 out of 53 overall females
2 out of 3 females aged 25-29

Yup, I placed!

Every time I try to brush it off as an accomplishment, all I have to do is look at this moment and that medal and I realize how awesome I truly am. I never stopped or looked back, and no matter how challenging it felt sometimes, I kept on keeping on, and for that, I rock! I don’t always have to be the first or the best; by showing up and taking charge, I can keep being the best Carly that I can be.

“Life is a positive-sum game. Everyone from the gold medalist to the last finisher can rejoice in a personal victory.” – Unknown

So why didn’t I run?
Pretty soon after starting C25K, I realized that at least for right now, it’s not the right program for me. I’ll admit that it was really hard for me to come to the decision to put it on the back burner yet again, but I truly believe that had I kept pushing for it, I would’ve resented it. For me, the whole point of doing C25K was to have a new adventure, a new activity, and a reason to keep reaching for a goal, and it was just not doing that for me. I’m kind of jealous of everyone I admire who are having a blast with the program, and hope that one day, I’ll be back to follow in their footsteps.

P.S. I’m donating $0.10 $1.00 to The Epilepsy Foundation for the first 500 comments made on this post before June 10th, which is also my 27th birthday. This is a cause I believe so very strongly in, so go on and get cracking! Tweet, re-post and help make sure that I’m a little poorer. Every comment counts.

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35 Responses to “Race for Hope 5K, and whatever happened to C25K?”

  1. Jill May 2, 2010 at 4:36 PM #

    I know we haven’t talked in many years, but i have to tell you that i am so incredibly proud of you. You have faced adversity head on and have been very brave despite many ups and down and a lot of frustration. You are an incredible role model for anyone who has something in their lives they feel is holding them back from being “normal”. I only wish i had your strength and courage…. Keep up the amazeing work Carly

  2. Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point May 2, 2010 at 4:48 PM #

    way to go!!!

  3. Lizzie May 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM #

    Congrats on finishing your walk! You’re definitely an inspiration!

  4. Heather @ Side of Sneakers May 2, 2010 at 4:52 PM #

    How inspirational!! It takes a lot to deal with something like epilepsy, and you are a shining example of how to look past it and live your life to the fullest. Congrats on the walk!

  5. Susan May 2, 2010 at 4:55 PM #

    Amazing!!! While not the same condition as yours, my uncle just experienced his first ever seizure. It’s frightening, and incredibly frustrating when the cause is so hard to pinpoint. You are doing a wonderful thing!!

    And congrats on the race, you’ve come a long way!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Kelsey May 2, 2010 at 5:03 PM #

    congrats!!!

  7. Allison May 2, 2010 at 5:09 PM #

    Congratulations!

  8. Sbelle May 2, 2010 at 5:17 PM #

    Awesome job, Carly!

  9. Meg May 2, 2010 at 5:35 PM #

    Thank you so much for supporting this cause. Someone very close to me has epilepsey as well and I am glad to help you make a donation!

  10. Donna May 2, 2010 at 5:52 PM #

    I am so proud of you. In honor of your 5k walk and all you have accomplished, I am donated $36.00 in your honor to the Epilepsy foundation of Canada.

  11. Mary - A Merry Life May 2, 2010 at 6:38 PM #

    Great job. That’s really inspiring.

    I hope you get lots of comments!

  12. Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit May 2, 2010 at 11:01 PM #

    You rock a tad.Great story, and great challenge.

  13. Steph May 2, 2010 at 11:26 PM #

    Carly, your awesome!So proud of you!<3

  14. Pamela May 2, 2010 at 11:39 PM #

    Congratulations!! You have SO much to be proud of! A tweet about this blog post caught my eye, because my dad has uncontrollable epilepsy. I will be checking out your blog again and look forward to reading more from you!

  15. Mrs. Hetherington May 2, 2010 at 11:50 PM #

    Carly, I'm so incredibly proud of you. Walking, running, moving in general can be a challenge and people do not always realize that. The fact that you did something you believed in is awesome!!! I enjoyed Couch to 5K and love to start the program over if you decide to start again.

  16. Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 3, 2010 at 1:01 AM #

    WOOHOO!!!

  17. ari May 3, 2010 at 1:39 AM #

    That's great.

  18. Laura K. Curtis May 3, 2010 at 1:57 AM #

    Keep going! My epilepsy I like to say that even though my epilepsy sometimes runs my life, it never rules it. I participate in just about every study that comes down the pike because I have a younger brother with epilepsy and sibling studies are SO important to the future! (I have six nieces and nephews, and I really hope the next generation doesn't suffer–nothing fully controls my seizures, so if any of them has brain weirdnesses, I hope the drugs are better!)Anyway, I found you on Twitter through the #epilepsy hashtag and I wanted to say congrats!

    • Carly May 13, 2010 at 12:12 AM #

      Very wise words, and thank you for stopping by and sharing your story!

  19. Jess May 3, 2010 at 2:19 AM #

    Beautiful post. I think the most important thing about any race is finishing. Because it takes a lot of courage and determination to cross that finish line. And I'm so glad you did. I'm so glad you're looking at it in a positive light, thinking of all the progress you've made instead of all the can'ts because your can'ts will start disappearing one by one the more you focus on your CANS. I'm really proud of you for getting out there, for pushing through the pain in your shins, for just living in the moment and not worrying about your time, what place, any of that. Because none of that matters. You did it for yourself. You finished.Good job!

  20. Wearing Mascara May 3, 2010 at 2:23 AM #

    So awesome!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Anonymous May 3, 2010 at 2:25 AM #

    nice work!!

  22. Dave May 3, 2010 at 2:55 AM #

    I want you to know how very proud of you I am every day. You and E are very much a huge inspriation to me, even though you don't know it. I love pushing your buttons because I like your high level of intelligence. Look up, good job, and we need to hang out again soon!

  23. Jenn (eating bender) May 3, 2010 at 3:33 AM #

    Congratulations, girlfriend! You rock!

  24. Shauna May 3, 2010 at 8:19 AM #

    well done well done well donnnnnnnnne! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Danielle May 3, 2010 at 10:30 AM #

    Awesome Job! Keep up the good work! The C25K is hard… but in time you will be ready for that adventure.

  26. Carmela P May 3, 2010 at 3:33 PM #

    This is fantastic–good luck!!

  27. Seth May 3, 2010 at 3:34 PM #

    Great Job!

  28. Trish May 3, 2010 at 10:11 PM #

    Great job on both accounts!!

  29. love2eatinpa May 4, 2010 at 12:13 PM #

    what a beautifula and inspriring story. you are very courageous and should be so proud of what you've accomplished!

  30. E May 4, 2010 at 8:03 PM #

    You have no idea how exceptionally proud I am. From the moment we met, I knew you were special (why else would I have bought a ring after three weeks), but you continue to surprise me every day with just how wonderful of a person you truly are.

  31. Jen @ Pearls and Politics May 10, 2010 at 9:50 PM #

    Congrats! I ran my first almost-5K (actually a 3-mile run) in Huntington in March! It's so empowering to cross that finish line, isn't it?You rock! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carly May 13, 2010 at 12:08 AM #

      Very cool – interested in doing a 5k trail walk with me in June? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. Sam May 15, 2010 at 1:15 PM #

    Carly, you rock. You really are amazing and you give me hope in so many ways. I’m so glad we met hanging clothes so many moons ago. โค

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 26 « Live, Laugh & Grow - May 16, 2010

    […] Reviews ← Race for Hope 5K, and whatever happened to C25K? […]

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