Still Running

I read Running With Angels a couple of years ago and was quite changed by Pam's enthusiasm and dedication...to live. Her completion of marathons was inspiring. I actually ran the "Running With Angels" race back in 2006. I was so motivated and determined to run a marathon that my husband, Craig, and I began training in January 2007 to run the Ogden marathon on May 19, 2007. Training was tough, but I felt so alive and strong! In February, I found out I was pregnant and talked to my doctor about my plans in running the marathon. He was a runner and said that as long as I stayed hydrated and listened to my body, running would actually help my pregnancy. I was so glad that I didn't have to stop because I was already 1 month into training and I didn't want to lose momentum. I was 18 1/2 weeks pregnant and went in for my ultrasound. The tech did a pass on my stomach and found two sacks...two placentas...TWINS! Craig and I were shocked but so excited. Under the careful watch of an excellent physician, I decided I was still going to run it. I had been training the whole time with twins, so why would I stop now? The marathon was in a week and half; Craig and I were ready. We had worked hard, and we were amazed at how our bodies were able to run so much. I especially was happy because as an overweight person, every step I ran meant another step toward a different lifestyle. My weight became out of control when I started having children. Having 5 babies in 6 years, 4 miscarriages, 3 DNCs and a c-section does a number on the body!! It was race day. I was 20 weeks pregnant with twins, Craig was by my side, and we were ready to run. It was a beautiful day. We started in Huntington, ran to Eden and then we were making our way to Ogden through Ogden canyon. Craig and I never hit the wall, we ran a textbook perfect race. I stayed hydrated and could feel the babies moving. I felt great! We actually were talking about running another marathon because we were enjoying ourselves so much. We were at mile 21, and Craig was checking his watch. It wasn't working right so I got on the left of him to see if I could figure it out. I put my right arm under his left arm so I could push the buttons on his watch. I then felt the worst pain...and saw glass shatter and then I heard a crash. I don't remember everything. I was hit by a minivan. The man driving was speeding down the canyon and was out of control. There was an off-duty cop who had run one of the races earlier that day and was behind him so he witnessed the whole thing. The fact that our arms were intertwined saved my life. It kept me from being thrown into the cement barrier and being crushed by the van. I basically was thrown into Craig's chest. He broke my fall. My doctor later told me that being pregnant softened the blow of the van. All of my "extra padding" and flexible bones provided a shield for me. He said that if Craig had been hit, it would have been like hitting elk. While lying there, I pleaded with the paramedics to let me cross the finish line. They informed me that my neck, back, arm and leg were possibly broken. Because I was bleeding, they thought my placentas had ruptured. I was taken to the hospital, and the pain in my body didn't compare to the pain of not knowing if my babies were okay. The nurse couldn't find the other baby. She said there was only one heartbeat. I was devastated. "Please God, save my babies." I kept repeating in my mind. The doctor came in and did an ultrasound. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. The twins, even though they were in there own sacks, were actually cuddling. She said they were so close together that their heartbeats were in sync. She had never seen twins be that physically close; she called for the other nurses and doctors there to look at the ultrasound because she was so amazed. My sister, Sydney, was watching our kids while we were running. When we got to mile 20, we called her and told her to meet us at the finish line. While we were in the hospital she told me that she had a hard time getting down the canyon because of all the backed up traffic due to an ambulance. She said that they passed by a "scene" where she and the kids could see a lady on the ground. My son, Tano, asked her, "What happened?" My sister said, "Oh, that lady is probably dehydrated." Tano asked, "What's dehydrated?" Sydney said, "That's when you don't drink enough water." Then Tano asked, "Is my mommy going to be okay?" My five-year-old son saw me lying there. Sydney had no idea that I was the injured runner until we were in the hospital, and she was telling me what Tano had said. I said, "Syd, that was me." We hugged and cried. I walked away from the hospital later that night with a broken toe, sprained ankle, torn tendons in my elbow, and bruised kidneys (which explains the blood). I do believe in miracles, and I know that angels were running with me that day on May 19, 2007. My twin girls are 8 months old and perfect. I delivered them just a few days shy of 39 weeks. They were 6 lbs. each and healthy. We all came home together. I want to run another marathon because I want to cross the finish line. I felt I was robbed of that experience and want some closure to that terrible incident. Pam, thank you. Thank you for changing my life because you chose to open yours. To you, I'm forever grateful. -Renee Condie
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