My Story

1039839_10201447458298524_842123893_o It was 2007, and I had quit a 32 year smoking habit a few years earlier and wanted to lose some weight. I started walking on a treadmill but it was taking up too much of my time, so I started jogging a bit. I realized if I moved a little faster, I’d burn even more calories and be finished even faster. In February of 2008, I participated in my first 5K finishing with a time of 49:19.

I started running outside with a young girl in my neighborhood.  She helped me train, and in February of 2009, I completed my first half marathon with a finish time of 2:31:09. I had become involved in the local running club, first as the Newsletter Editor and later as the Co-President. Since I already qualified in 2010, in March of 2011, I made it official and joined the Half Fanatics group. As of February of 2012, I had participated in my 14th half marathon to date (12 “official” and 2 virtual) and was slated for others on my race calendar.

IMG_0009 Then everything changed on August 28th of 2012, when I was involved in an automobile accident reported by the Florida Highway Patrol as a probable fatality. Because the car was sitting in standing water, the top of my car was cut off in an attempt to rescue me. (I was later told had the car flipped, because I was in that standing water for over 45 minutes, I would have died.)

IMG_0001 Once the first responders removed the top of my car, they discovered that the dashboard was actually crushing my legs and as a result, they couldn’t lift me out. The emergency crew attached a chain to their truck and pulled the front of my car and dashboard off my legs. I was taken by helicopter to the local trauma center where I was treated for an open book pelvic fracture, fractured tailbone, fractured sacrum, crushed knee cap, fractured knee, fractured nose, and a fractured eye orbit.

I have recently spoken to the first responders who cut me out of my car and they told me they thought I would be paralyzed for the rest of my life due to my injuries. I was in the trauma center for about a month and then transferred to a rehab center for another month.

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I was wheelchair-bound from September through the end of November all the while experiencing a substantial amount of pain. The doctors had told me I would probably begin walking in March of 2013, but by December, 2012, I was using a walker. By January, 2013, I was using a cane.

IMG_0016 I was devastated when the doctors told me I’d never run again due to the pelvis injuries I had sustained and the hardware that remains in my body. In February of 2013, I walked and completed my first 5K with a finishing time of 59:07. In September of 2013, I participated in another 5K and I was able to do a combination of running and walking, and then on October 27, 2013, I was able to run/walk my first half marathon! I was the 7th finisher from the end – the key word being “finisher” – with a time of 3:25:33. I next completed the Space Coast Half Marathon on December 1st and the Holiday Halfathon on December 16th.

If all goes well, my goal is to participate in at least 14 half marathons in 2014, along with local 5ks and somehow find a way to level up in Half Fanatics too!!

04/15/2014 UPDATE:  I have “leveled up” in Half Fanatics club by doing 4 half marathons in 36 days! As of today, I have done SEVEN of the 14 half marathons for 2014!! Stay tuned as I complete the rest!!

07/16/14: UPDATE:  I completed the NINTH half marathon of the 14 for 2014, with my next half scheduled for September in Nashville!  I’ll be back to report the results!!

12/20/14: UPDATE: I did it! I completed FOURTEEN half marathons in 2014!! Now the answer to the question everyone asks: my goal for 2015 is to improve my speed and stamina, lose weight, get healthier both physically and spiritually!
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14 comments on “My Story

  1. Wow, what an amazing story! So proud of you. I’m a new runner and I love it but sometimes it seems to move slowly. Thanks for the encouragement. If you can do it, I can do it!

  2. Hi Debi;
    I can’t believe I heard about you being in an automobile accident, and missed hearing about the details until now. It truly is utterly amazing that you
    lived through it, and have kept the determination to go on in so many ways!! What an incredible inspiration you are to anyone who reads your story!!

  3. Hi Debi, my name is Lisa and my son who is 22 years old was in a bad motorcycle accident on 9/19/15 and he is going through a hard time accepting that he will never be able to walk again. Jonathan was a gym rat and loved to run at the beach and do flips, and other tricks. He has a Spinal Cord Injury on his Thoracic T12 – T10, he fractured his pelvic bone on both sides, and he has other injuries. I was talking to your Aunt Barbara today who I just met and she is a sweetie. Told me about your story and I had some questions for you. My son wants to know what you did to get yourself to walk again and how long before you were able to walk?

    • Hey Lisa, thanks for your post. Being 22 like your son versus being 50 like I was when my accident happened has to be a way different thing for sure. And yes, my Aunt Barbara has always been my favorite aunt (and I’m from a large family). My accident occurred August 28, 2012. I was running 3-4 days a week prior to my accident and I’ve been told that because I was a runner, I had better recovery periods. I was told I may walk in the spring, but was walking by Christmas of 2012 using a walker, and then with a cane in January, and by the end of February, I was walking on my own – ONLY THROUGH GOD’S GRACE. I prayed, my friends prayed and my family prayed and we all truly believe in the power of prayer.

    • I’m sorry I missed your post earlier! I’m glad you are inspired by my story and it’s my pleasure to include your book in my Bookshelf section!

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