Thursday, July 12, 2012

Active MSer Feature: Jill Walsh

Jill Walsh, Active MSer,  is in the process of training for Ironman Lake Placid.
Here is her story, in her words.

Please consider a donation to my Can Do MS Fund, which culminates in my Ironman World Championship race on October 13, 2012. Help support all of those living, training, and competing with Multiple Sclerosis. My goal is $10,000 and we are almost halfway there! Every bit helps!

Best of luck to Jill on July 22nd; soon, you will hear "Jill, You Are an Ironman!"

As I started to write my story, I realized it was going in an unexpected direction. 
Here it is.

I have been physically active my whole life. A year and a half ago I was 48 years old, still playing soccer twice a week, running most other days, and training for my first ½ Ironman. I started to suffer from vertigo, dizziness, and balance issues. I thought it was due to overtraining.

Fast forward to today, and I still have bouts with vertigo, dizziness, and balance issues, and have added foot drop and left arm weakness to my growing collection of issues I am learning to navigate with.

I have M.S., and am training for Ironman Lake Placid on July 22, 2012—just a few weeks from now. All I can think about is, “When is I all of this training going to be over? I’m tired”. But when I start to reflect on my M.S. Ironman journey, I realize it’s not really about me; it’s a lot more than that. Regardless of what reads after my name in the race results: a time or DNF (but hopefully not a DNF), my journey has taken a village—my village.

My husband should be sainted, and my three teen-aged kids should be rewarded for being abandoned for my training schedule. Hopefully, there will be, “Go Mom,” posters along the course.

My coach, Brandi (an Ironman, herself), who would say—no matter how much I whined, “It’s supposed to be hard. You will be an Ironman!”

My physician, John (also an Ironman), thinks it might have been foolish for me to have entered,  said that if it is what I want to do, he will help me any way he can to get to the finish line. He did have to add, “But the run it won’t be pretty”.  Ugh.

The brace maker Jim, he is my new BFF. He has been very patient and helpful through the many adjustments to my two braces. I now have a magic biking shoe and a magic running shoe! Both braces are working well to keep my foot where it was meant to be, regardless of M.S.’ opinion on the matter! He is looking forward to hearing about my Ironman experience with his artwork.

Jeremy, the bike shop guy: After I told him I didn’t have enough strength in my left hand to safely brake, he found and installed a part that allows me to now brake both wheels using only my right hand – it took a few patient adjustments.

My favorite running shoe store (Fleet Feet!):  Can’t say enough good things about all those guys! This shoe, that shoe, mismatched sizes to fit my brace (Yes, you can buy mismatched pairs).
All my old friends and new training partners: Well, I will start to cry if I go into how that have helped, encouraged, and supported me along this journey.

Yup, it takes a village. We all belong to one, and I am glad. Now my hope is – after what I know will be a long day for me—to hear the voice of Mike Riley: “Jill, you are an Ironman!”


Kathy M said...

Hey Lady. You are an inspiration to many. I had always said to my kids, never say can't, always say try and you will succeed. You CAN and you WILL! Love and miss ya. Kathy M.

Get Back Up said...

Jill, I will be running tomorrow's Half Marathon in Chicago with 2 other women who have foot drop. All of the extra energy we can muster will be directed to your Ironman efforts. YOU INSPIRE ME!! Good luck, be strong, and if you falter along the way... Get Back Up. You deserve this!!!
Beth Deloria