Dr. Kate Edwards
I used to be an athlete. I have run thirteen marathons, including three Bostons, and more half marathons than I can count on my hands and feet combined. I have done triathlon and planned on doing a full Ironman someday, but I never got the chance. My closet is full of running jackets, running hats, running gloves and running shoes. My bikes sit idle, and my swim cap and goggles are collecting dust. I have shelves and drawers of race shirts just sitting there, waiting for me to clean them out, but I haven’t been able to do it yet. I’m not ready for a life without running gear, bikes and goggles. I’m not ready for a life without running or endurance sports.
We don’t always get to choose the turns our lives take. A few years ago, while training for a half Ironman, I nearly died. Eventually, I was diagnosed with ARVC, a progressive, genetic heart disease. And get this…the only thing that makes it worse is exercise.
I’ve learned that, for better or worse, eventually we all go through something that forces us to change the path we are on. Change is never easy, but when it comes, it’s our choice how difficult we make it. Change is not only difficult but it’s also quite uncomfortable. In fact, some of the most important changes come out of the greatest amount of discomfort. My journey has been full of discomfort and change – two things I’ve always hated the most. But, when I step back and look at my experience from another perspective, I am surprised to discover that it may have been exactly what I needed.
I never imagined a day when I wouldn’t be able to run. To say I love running is a gross understatement. I love the feeling of each foot as it hits the ground, the breeze in my hair, the sweat on my forehead and the peace I experience. I love the way running makes me feel, both mentally and physically, and how it gives me confidence, freedom and hope. Even every step in my career has been about incorporating the sport I love – from the moment I started running right up until the moment I was told I had to stop.
My story is deeply entwined with running and endurance sports, but you don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate my journey. Running and triathlon aren’t just sports. They’re a lifestyle and a community. So losing these things has forced me to redefine who I am, how I live and where I belong. Doesn’t everyone have to re-examine themselves and their lives at some point? I think they do.
Now I dare to say that my life may be better than it was before. I have learned so much about who I am and who I truly want to be. I have fought hard and come out on the other side: happier, stronger and more alive. I am learning what it is to truly live. I am not super woman, but I do have super powers. They are perseverance, gratitude and the strength to keep moving forward. Please join me on my journey to better health, wellness and a lifetime of fun!