Three years ago, I walked into a classroom of 43 first year doctoral of physical therapy students at NYU with a secret and a goal.
My secret was that I had, five weeks prior, had major surgery to save my life. My colectomy rid me of the debilitating colitis that almost prevented me from starting school at all. But it also left me with a colostomy bag and incredibly weak. My bag was my secret. No one knew about it and I aimed to keep it that way.
My goal was simple: to run a marathon. It would be my tenth. I trained diligently throughout that first summer of school and finally felt like I was making headway, in spite of still having my bag.
I found it both hard and silly to keep my secret from my classmates and proudly outed myself one day as an ostomate. No biggie. I never did get to run my tenth marathon. Two emergency room visits for intestinal blockages made my second surgery an immediate concern and so, under the knife I went again.
Back to school with no bag and no colon, I set my sights on my marathon goal for the following Summer and a half in the Spring.
I set a PR at the Jersey Shore Half Marathon and had a great time training through a very mild winter. I ran another half a month later with Team Challenge to give back to those who still live with IBD. It was an incredibly emotional race for me.
With my sights set on FINALLY running that tenth marathon, I finished up my first year of PT school, my first Summer rotation, and dove into marathon training stronger than ever. Training was going perfectly and I was absolutely going to crush it at the Hamptons Marathon, but I didn’t. I went down to the half. I had another secret.
I kept this one from my classmates again, but for very different reasons.
Number ten would have to wait, I was working on a much more important goal. I finished my second year of PT school, my second Summer rotation, and gave birth to our son.
I would much rather have a baby than run a marathon.
This is what I tell myself when I feel the pull of number ten in my heart. I want to run my tenth marathon, but it probably won’t happen for a long time. Years, I imagine.
I just finished my last day of PT school yesterday and, you would think I have all this free time. I don’t. Finals are next week, followed immediately by my third and fourth Summer rotations, graduation, and my state licensing exam. Then I *hope* to have a job.
That tenth marathon is pretty far down on my list of life goals, but it’s there. I’m just busy living my life and waiting for a time that it will fit in somewhere.
‘Til then, I’m thrilled to have survived school, have my beautiful, healthy family to wake up to every single day, and am training for two half marathons in the next 6 months. Life is good.
Now go out and run.