The post below is the first in a new series of guest posts I am hosing on the Lone Runner blog where readers are encouraged to write their story, why they run and/or about how running makes them feel. One day I opened up my inbox to find an email from Tricia with this accompanying story. Tricia is a friend from my alma matter, Bucknell University and until the past month I had not talked to her in nearly 10 years. Running has the power to bring us together, so let’s give it the platform it needs…. About 1-2x month I will feature guest posts from any reader who would like to share their story. Today we will start with Tricia’s amazing journey. Enjoy.
Guest post by Tricia Kisiday.
My peers were exhilarated to have a substitute for the day. Where was my teacher? On TV. Running the Boston Marathon. Like the god that he was. While my classmates were elated at the notion of doing less “real” work for the day, I sat there in awe of my teacher who was the first to show me the world of running.
Weeks prior our teacher had come to witness our 800 meter dash for the Presidential Fitness Test. My stocky fourth grade body ran like someone or something was forcefully pushing me backwards. This body didn’t glide, float or flutter to the finish. Nonetheless, I tried several times to impress my teacher and sadly did not meet the time requirements.
A classmate looking for a laugh mocked my running stance to my other friends and classmates. Running with arms dangling freely by his sides like a chimp he nastily squealed, “Tricia runs like a monkey!”
I quickly decided that the Presidential Fitness Test wasn’t for me and clearly neither was running. From day one running didn’t come naturally to me, yet for some reason I gravitate towards it. I wanted it; I needed it in my life. I have always needed to keep on running.
In middle school I signed up for track with some close friends in middle school. I loved practice, but I hated the actual races. My friends were placed in hurdles, 200 dash, or the 400. I was faced with the damn 800 again. So I did what any girl in junior high would do: mid race I pretended to cramp out aka never finished a race. So they did what any track coaches would do: placed me on discs and shot-put.
You’d think that by high school I’d try another sport. Correct. I tried out for volleyball with no prior experience: I was a HOT MESS on the court! Since eye-hand coordination on the court was clearly not my strong point I set my dreams of volleyball greatness aside and defaulted to Cross-Country. Cross country: non-stop running for fun. Ahhhhh! What a breath of fresh air! Tricia, can you run forward in a straight line? YES MAM, I CAN DO THAT! PRET-TY IMPRESSIVE STUFF!! Our cross-country coach was nothing short of amazing. She took a bunch of complaining girls convinced them to run the best they could and go on to get personal bests at each race.
Senior year I received a call from a college running coach, “What’s your best 5k time?” I stated, “23:14.” Click. End of conversation. Dial tone. I ran and told my mom, “Wow some coach actually thought I could be fast enough to run in college!” We both started laughing. My mom was the same person who cried because, “You actually finished a race!!!”
The silence on the other end of the line didn’t stop me from running.
No one could take away what running meant to me.
Once again I decided to press onward, to keep on running.
***In college and grad school, running was still an active part of my life. You couldn’t have found a happier person training and then running the Philadelphia Half Marathon with her sister in 2009. Yet, there was a darkness that was looking to steal running from me. It reared its ugly head on my 21st birthday and make guest appearances on a whim. In 2012 it left me too afraid to run.
Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is the formal name given to a way in which my brain was born. My brain is more active in firing impulses at random. Most of the time this just causes me to have active dreams, need more sleep, and I believe (no scientific evidence) to make loose connections with anything during topics of conversation. When these random firings build up then a big seizure results: a grand mal.
In 2012, seizures increased in frequency due to a change in medication. I allowed fear to enter my world. I started to wear an ID bracelet 24hrs a day. Having people doubt your mind may be one of the hardest races I never signed up to trial.
Shortly after I persuaded my husband to do his first 5k. This was a race I knew he could get behind: Freedom Run– not another moment lost to seizures. We ran 13 minute miles and we got crap from family for being “slow.” I laughed back. So what I’m slow? So what I run funny? So what? Life is an endurance race. I may stop for water and run at a slow pace, but I don’t give up. I’ve never given up. I’m never going to give up.
I kept running after my classmate mocked me.
I kept running after college scouts laughed at my race splits.
I am a young woman living and running with juvenline myoclonic epilepsy.
Nothing can stop me now ‘cause I’m going to keep on running.**Tricia Kisiday is a 30 year old Pediatric Occupational Therapist who currently lives in Oahu, Hawaii with her husband. She currently runs approximately 7-10 miles a week to maintain fitness and mixes it up with swimming, yoga and other strength training exercises throughout the week. Tricia is a passionate young woman who is committed to keep on running no matter what her circumstances.
Do you have a running story to tell? Something inspirational? Silly? Powerful? Fun? Well then… spit it out now!! I’d love to hear it, and I bet others would too! We may all train alone in at dawn or dusk, but we aren’t alone. Email me your story and a brief bio at: firstname.lastname@example.org.