Tracy Burwell lives in California and I live in Florida. We met online through planning to trip to a runDisney race to Disneyland happening this Fall. It's a long story but through "feelings" and "chats" we became friends. I call her my "West Coast Angel". It is amazing how two people from either sides of the world can find each other and have a connection. Some say it might have been fate...but I believe that this strong-willed, kind-hearted, and loving person was given to me as a gift from God.
As I am writing this a notification just popped up on my Twitter from Joel Osteen that pertaines to this blog post. It ironically reads...
"The people God put in your life are not there by accident. God put you with them on purpose. Don't take them for granted"
She has given me strength in my weakest hours after an emergency surgery I just had 7 weeks ago today and has kept me motivated to stay strong and be positive throughout my recovery. The only thing I miss about our friendship is that we live so far away to actually spend time together.
Tracy's story is as motivational as it can get. Through her rocky roads she has persevered and found her love of running and in #run3rd.
Tracy is also a EnergyBits Ambassador. She invites you to go to the website http://www.energybits.com/
and read more about this product. For reading this blog she would like gift you 30% off your order using her discount code: TURTLE
I hope you enjoy her story below!
I’m a slow paced, fun loving, big hearted, asthmatic, newbie runner, with ADHD. My titles include wife, mother, Coach, Captain and California native. As an Adapted Physical Education Specialist, with a degree in Kinesiology, I ‘coach’ children, K-12, with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities. They in turn inspire me to accept myself for who I am, and to be the best I can be.
My running story has had many starts and stops. I never intended to become a runner, in fact, my first race was a challenge by a friend to run a 5k for Desert AIDS Project. I had 8 weeks to train. Motivated to raise money and not come in last place, I trained diligently. I did not enjoy the training but I loved the race day excitement! I raised $1500.00 and was far from coming in last! I felt great.
In the race swag bag I received from the first race, there was an invitation to another race in my area the following week. It was a 6k and finishers where to receive a medal. So I signed up for the Palm Springs Tram Road Challenge. That day I learned why they call it the World’s Toughest 6k. I earned that medal running uphill for four miles. My lungs ached, as did my legs. At the finish, when they put that medal around my neck, I felt like I could do anything! I recall calling my parents like a child.
That empowerment was a Godsend, as I was unknowingly goingto need to do the impossible. My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had only a short time to live. My world stopped and my focus change to caring for and helping my dad die. It was an honor to be with him and he shared so much about living and dying with me in our middle of the night chats. It was a very special and beautiful time, but extremely difficult.
I was unable to run for a while. To me, running symbolized that everything was ok, and it wasn’t. I made a feeble attempt to run the Tram Road Challenge the next year, 9 months after my dad’sdeath. I finished, and received a medal, but my heart wasn’t in it.I remember praying, where are you God, this is so hard! But as I ran, a rainbow appeared at the top of the hill. God was there and so was my dad, only they were in that rainbow at the top,waiting for me, and cheering me on. I missed my goal by 35 seconds and I beat myself up the entire day. After that race, again I stopped running again.
I tried talk therapy, but I wasn’t depressed about my dad. In time I took many tests and agreed to take a drug to help me “feel”better. It made me so sick after only a week, and took nearly 2months to recover and get it totally out of my system. It was during that recovery I was officially diagnosed with ADHD and my medical doctor recommended a drug free approach. He suggested I start burning adrenaline through running, and hire a trainer. This decision to run and train would be life changing!
I worked with the trainer and forced myself to run, but still did not enjoy running. But I had to keep going! I ran the Tram Road Challenge is 2012 and beat my time from 2010 and 2011! Upon finishing, my breathing was really labored and I was sick to my stomach. We discovered after that race, I had exercise induced asthma and I began treatment. No wonder I hated to run, I was suffocating every run, and just kept thinking I wasn’t fit or training hard enough. It was good to know there was a reason this was so difficult!
With my inhaler safely tucked on my fuel belt, I ran the Valley of Fire 10k in Overton Nevada and took 2nd for my age.
I just kept going, and in January 2013, the day after my 49th birthday, I ran my first half marathon at Disneyland! I will never forget the hug and look of pride on my husband’s face when we found each other at the finish!
It was that Disney event my running took on a new purpose. This race wasn’t the culmination of my training, it turned out to be the beginning of something much bigger.
I discovered a team of runners on Twitter by the name of #Run3rd. They were dedicating their runs and talking about @rundisney. (to dedicate a run go to: http://run3rd.blogspot.com/p/run3rd-dedications.html
I found myself instantly drawn to the concept. Actor Sean Astin began Team #Run3rd as a twitter campaign to challenge individuals to run
1st for yourself
2nd for your family
and to #Run3rd for others by taking race dedications
and to #Run3rd for others by taking race dedications
This team has kept me running, because it isn’t about me, it’s about connecting and running FOR others. I became an official #Run3rd Team Captain in April 2013 and have been running 3rd, with all of my heart, ever since. My goal is to support and encourage others through my own trials and encourage others to have fun with running and to just keep going!
I’m not fast. I huff and puff, but I run with my heart, and my legs always follow…
How long it takes is irrelevant as long as you keep on going…Rick Warren.
Written by Tracy Burwell
You can find Tracy on Twitter @aturtlespace