If I Can, You Can!

If I Can, You Can!
By Melissa Thigpen

My passionWhere have my feet taken me? It was October 20th, 2014. My friend had asked me to do a half marathon with her. She was a runner but I wasn’t. I told her that races were for runners. I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile without stopping from being all out of breath. My friend told me that my walking was basically her run pace and she convinced me to sign up. Six days later would be my first half marathon. Wow! It was in Canada and I was so excited. I decided since I was signed up I might as well see if I can run some of it, so that day I started running on my treadmill at home. I couldn’t run long but I tried my best.
October 25th my friend and I drove 3 hours to Vancouver B.C., Canada. I can’t believe I was about to take on a half marathon and an international one at that with only 6 days of running behind me. I was excited all night while sitting up in our hotel. I remember looking out the window, across from the finish line, watching the set up going on. That night I didn’t sleep much. I was up early that next morning with that same excitement. It was race day, October 26, 2014! I got dressed and we headed downstairs and down the street to the starting area. It was cold and wet out. We lined up in our corral and waited our turn to start. I remember a woman in line telling me that I looked fit then she had asked how long I had been a runner. I told her, “I just started this week ma’am. I’m not going for any time. I’m aiming to finish while having a great time.” We moved up closer to the start. It was go time and off we went. I ran and I ran and I ran! I kept the pace with my friend for several miles. That day I was able to run about 8 of those 13.1 miles. I was a runner and not only that but I was now a half marathoner! And that’s where it all started. I’ve been running ever since!

My firstsBy January, I had already done 4 half marathons, one 10K and two 5K. February 8, 2015 was a hard day for me. I was out running with my husband and somehow I got an intense pain in my knees. I had to start walking. I couldn’t run. I made my way back home, showered, and then my husband and I went to the grocery store. The pain became more intense and within the hour I was in the hospital ER. I had x-rays done and three weeks later I had MRI’s done. It was confirmed. I had double torn medial meniscus. Three months into my running journey and I was injured. For several months I continued running having gotten shots in my knees and taking pain meds when needed. I was never told not to run. My doctor just told me to listen to my body as I ran. I ran when I could and walked when I needed to. When I ran I had to wear knee braces with hinges on both knees. That helped me with my stability. Six months and two days after my running journey started I ran my first marathon followed by three weeks later my second and a week after that my first Ultra marathon. So here I was, six months into my running journey and I was a half marathoner and a marathoner and in my seventh month, I became an ultra-marathoner. Wow! Never in my life did I ever think I could run a mile or two much less 31.37 miles!

First post opIt was in December 2015, fourteen months into my running journey that I ended up having double major knee surgery. Yes, I had both knees done! I was on a “no weight baring restriction” for a while. On February 1st, 2016, I was able to start walking again. I started by doing a slow mile a day then gradually increased my waking speed and the distance. March 6th was my first half marathon done following my double knee surgery and that was at 9 weeks post-op. I was still just walking. I wasn’t allowed or ready to start running. I did another half at 11 weeks and another one at 13 weeks. Again, I was only walking. By 14 weeks post op I was ready and allowed to start running again. I took on my 4th half marathon at 14 weeks post-op and was able to run, for the first time in almost 5 months, about 9 of those miles finishing in 2:37:22. Here I am, a runner of 19 months and I have completed seven 5K’s, one 10K, one 15K, 21 half marathons, 2 marathons and 1 ultra-marathon. I am a member of Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniac, and I am a Double Agent. I am a member of RWB, Wear Blue and Irun4Michael. Running is my passion! I am here to tell you that if I can do it, anyone can! Hold onto your dreams and don’t ever give up. Keep your eye on the prize and most of all keep your faith in the Lord. You can do it!


**All walkers and runners are invited to join Moon Joggers! If  you have not signed up for MERCURY RISING  (one of the paid registration options) do so now and you’ll be able to save 25% on our virtual races in 2016! (Use code MILLIONMILES to save 25% on MERCURY RISING).



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