Christine Druava was not a runner, but after learning about a diagnosis, and the fate of her close friend, she found a purpose in becoming a marathoner.

 

A New Purpose

By Christine Druava

 

IMG 0244

Twelve years ago I married the love of my life. We thought we were living a dream until I was diagnosed with Stage IV Endometriosis two years into our marriage, a debilitating disease that causes pelvic pain and infertility. There is no cure for endometriosis and, unfortunately, most medication only masks the pain for short periods of time. I had several surgeries to have tissues and cysts removed, which meant putting my work outs on the back burner. Not only was I dealing with pain, surgeries and many medications, I was also dealing with the emotional roller coaster of trying to conceive a child. I was lucky enough to have my miracle daughter in August of 2007. Most of my life, however, I have felt completely out of control in regards to my health. I live at the mercy of endometriosis.

Fast forward to 2012. A good friend of mine was running a local marathon. I watched her over the months as she trained hard and spent every Saturday running a “long run.” I thought she was crazy, but wanted to be supportive, so I went and watched her run on race day. I absolutely loved watching the 7500 marathoners and was inspired by all the runners. It sparked my interest and I decided that day I was going to give it a try. I have to be completely honest, I was not sure it was possible and I had lots of self-doubt. At the time I was overweight and I had not run a mile since 9th grade gym class.

IMG 3241I began training in January of 2013. I started with a couch to 5k training program I found online. Training was tough! It definitely did not come easy for me. The day I ran my first full mile my pace was 14:42. Inside I wondered if a marathon was even possible.  I had to repeat that 1 mile 26 more times! I hit many road bumps during my training, my health didn’t always cooperate and sometimes my endometriosis stopped my training for days at a time, but I was not going to let it control my life anymore. Race day came all to quick, and of course I was so unsure what I had got myself into. I had researched a lot about marathons, done lots of reading and thought I was ready to go. Boy, was I in for a surprise! I had read that running a marathon was such a mental game and to have some type of motivation. I chose to dedicate each mile to a child who battled cancer and I wrote 26 kids names on my arm. I read their stories and used their courage to help me get through my race. I was a marathoner. It was such an amazing feeling, but inside I was embarrassed by my time. I had seen so many runners get way faster times than me. I compared myself to everyone else and felt so inferior. I let it get in my head that running was not for me and I stopped training.

"...run for those who can't."

Reality hit me two years later when the same friend that inspired me to run my first marathon was diagnosed with liver cancer and could no longer run. She was given only a few months to live. She texted me one evening and told me “please run, run for those that can’t.” This text changed my life. Being a runner/marathoner was not about the time I got during my race but it was that I finished what I started. I decided rather than be embarrassed by my time that I would train and endure my runs.

IMG 4326

I have no longer let my disease decide my running path. Some days are definitely more painful than others but I don’t give up. Running has become my outlet, it is so therapeutic for my soul.

This year I completed my 5th marathon. Each race I have slowly improved my time but what I have found is that running isn’t about time, it is about pushing yourself to do something you never believed you could. Everyone can be a runner who has the desire, you just have to find it within yourself to believe.

I am going to continue to pursue my running dreams and in January I will compete in the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World Florida. I will be running 4 consecutive races: 5k, 10k, half and full marathon. A total of 48.6 miles. I am training hard and looking forward to fulfilling yet another dream.

Whether you have wanted to run a 5k or a marathon you can do it! Don’t let your own doubt and fear keep you from achieving something great. You too can be “a runner.”