Well, she did it.
A couple of months ago Betsy re-initiated her “Operation Lace Up”. Her goal then was to get back to a 12.5 minute mile pace for 2 miles. Ok, that kind of time isn’t going to break any Olympic records but you try running with a progressive lung disease and asthma! Last summer she broke 25 minutes and kept that pace up through the fall and winter until she got sick. But then she was sidelined for about 5 months and had to start from zero.
It’s not the first time that she’s faced a major setback. It probably won’t be the last. In the spring of 2008, Betsy ran a 5K and she killed it. That race was itself the culmination of a long recovery process, following a serious bout with pneumonia and influenza in 2007. Unfortunately, just over a year after that race Betsy was in the ER awaiting emergency surgery; the result of a mysterious abdominal infection. I remember a discussion before Betsy got back on the treadmill for the first time after her operation, wondering aloud if she could do it again.
By now you will, of course, know that Betsy is resilient. And tenacious. But it’s still hard. There’s an annoyingly catchy song from the late 90s, Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. You know, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”. I remember downloading it on to her iPod just to try and make her smile before that first run but it kind of turned into a rallying cry. In my estimation, she’s had to “get up again” more times than she deserves. But each time she finds the will to do it.
There have been ups and downs this summer. Before her last breathing test she ran two miles in 27.5 minutes and continued to make steady progress. We went to the gym together a couple times while on vacation last month and ran side by side on some very state of the art treadmills. That week alone she shaved 30 seconds off of her time and got under 26 minutes. But with the higher temperatures and humidity that go along with the dog days of summer, she has had some slower runs more recently and some runs that just didn’t feel very good. By Monday though she was edging closer to 25 minutes and was bound and determined to give it one final push today.
I was out running some errands on my lunch break and happened to wander into a Dick’s Sporting Goods. The first display when I walked into the store was a vast selection of Nike women’s running gear:
I’m pretty sure Nike swiped that line from the inimitable Winston Churchill’s famous 1941 speech given at the Harrow School in London.
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Wise words indeed.
I had just gotten my phone out to text Betsy my great find and to ask what size she wanted when she sent me a message with the following picture attached:
Apart from the time, she even said that she felt surprisingly good during the run. I was over the moon! She deserved a run like this. I knew she could do it and I couldn’t have been more proud of her. I snatched the tank top off the rack and was heading toward the checkout but Betsy sent a follow up text instructing me NOT to buy it without a coupon. Tenacious and frugal. I love her! 🙂
I would say mission accomplished but knowing Betsy, she will set another goal for herself that will be obliterated in due course. And while I’m hopeful that there won’t be any new setbacks anytime soon, I know that regardless, Betsy won’t ever give in. If she get’s knocked down, she’ll get up again.
You’re never gonna keep her down!
P.S. Sorry if that song is stuck in your head for the rest of the day!