I did it. I finished my very first half marathon at Disneyland and can’t wait to do it again.

I absolutely never expected to do this. I am 68 and never was athletic, we did not have gym when I was in school and there were no sports for women. While I did consider myself fairly active in my early years, I had a debilitating back injury and surgery in 1990, a laterally fragmented herniated disk. A chronic sprain condition resulted in 2 surgeries on my right ankle for osteoarthritis ultimately removing most of the cartilage. These injuries left me with chronic back pain, which lasted through the 90’s, mild nerve damage in my right leg and a very weak right ankle and then a hip replacement in 2003.Marathon runner with foot drop

Needless to say, my activities were limited. Then the ultimate, in 2010 another back injury with a herniation affecting both the sciatic and peroneal nerves causing complete drop foot. The surgery for the herniation did not correct the drop foot and I became very depressed. I wasn’t able to walk more than a block and even shopping was difficult. Of course, I tripped and fell often breaking my wrist in 2011. While considering buying a walker I realized I needed new gym shoes (for daily wear) and the 18-year-old clerk invited me to join the store sponsored running club.

He offered to stay with me and though I explained that I was handicapped for some unknown reason, I showed up the next night. That evening, the storeowner brought an off the shelf brace that helped. This was 2 years ago and I ran (very slowly) my first 5k that same month. I was last in the race but received tremendous applause and accolades. I never won anything in my life and even though I was last, I was a winner and couldn’t wait to do it again. The fulfillment and accomplishment that I felt was extraordinary and I knew I wanted to continue this journey and “Get Back Up.”

I saw a posting by Beth Deloria and was able to make contact and get fitted for an Allard ToeOFF®. This has changed my life. Just think, I thought I was handicapped for 22 years and didn’t realize there was something I could do about it. Now I run 3 times a week and race as often as I can. I will be doing another half marathon before the end of 2014. If I can do it, anyone can “Get Back UP”!