Every year I say to myself, Next year I’m going to run the New York City Marathon! I’m going to do it! I’m going to start training, and it’s gonna happen! MS won’t stop me! I’m a beast! I can do it! This pep talk goes on for a few weeks and the next thing I know it’s February, March, July, September and…it’s over! No training, no marathon, no nothing! I need motivation people!!!!! Somebody help me!
This year I may have found it! Her name is Kayla Montgomery. Imagine being 14 years old. Imagine taking a strange fall on the soccer field. Imagine being told you have six lesions on your brain and spine and finally being told that you have Multiple Sclerosis.
Many of us have received this dreadful diagnoses in our twenties or maybe thirties and we fall apart. We cry. We get angry. We scream that it’s not fair. But imagine the news at 14 years old when most are simply consumed with what outfit they should wear to school tomorrow or how many Facebook likes their selfie secured.
It’s not easy to imagine at all. But this was Kayla’s reality and she handled it like a Champ! A Champion athlete that is! This award winning long distance runner may have a unique advantage hidden under what most would see as a terrible disadvantage.
When many long distance runners start to feel pain as they get well into the race, Kayla feels, well…nothing! She just keeps going! Kyla’s numb legs allow her to push through a race at a steady speed. However, when she finishes the race and attempts to stop running, her exhausted legs turn to rubber and she simply collapses into her coaches arms. After several minutes of ice (to bring her body temperature down) and rest, she is once again mobile.
Kayla was not always an award winning athlete. Initially, Kayla was one of the slowest on her team. Her MS diagnoses motivated her to train longer and go faster! The New York Times article quotes her coach.
“When she was diagnosed, she said to me, ‘Coach, I don’t know how much time I have left, so I want to run fast — don’t hold back,’ ” said Patrick Cromwell, Montgomery’s coach. “That’s when I said, ‘Wow, who are you?’ ”
I know that feeling of waiting for the wheelchair all too well. We want to take advantage of every second we have while our legs will still do the work they are intended to do. So I, like Kayla, want to make my new Year’s resolution to “train longer and go faster.” She’s my hero, my muse, my motivation on this monday and in the year 2015!