Running Against the Odds

Seth Johnson, Transitions Global and Lindley Rachal

Lindley Rachal has spent most of her life doing things she was told she couldn’t do.  At the age of 10, Lindley was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  39 years ago she was told she wouldn’t live to be 20. This mother of 3 was told she couldn’t have children. (Not only did she have 3 children, she homeschooled them all and runs ROCK Solid, a home school book store!) And on March 12, outfitted with an insulin pump, she defied the odds yet again when she ran the Gate River Run and finished with a quite respectable time of 1:32!

Exercise has long been an important part of Lindley’s life, but other than a 2-month stint on her high school track team (she quit because it was too hot), she had not been involved in running.  Last fall, after years of daily workouts on her elliptical machine, she hit a mental block and just couldn’t make herself get on it.  After a couple of days of trading a nap for her exercise time, she knew she had to take some drastic action.

That was when she learned about The Human Race and thought that running for a good cause might just be the motivation she needed to give it a try.  She signed up to run for Transitions Global, a nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates and re-integrates girls into society who have been trafficked, and began training.  She was amazed when she completed the 5K race, crossing the finish line without gasping for breath!

Since then, she has completed 4 additional 5K races and the 15K Gate River Run.  Although she’s accomplished so much and could continue, she says “the jury is still out on that one”.  She hasn’t found that elusive “runner’s high”  she’s heard so much about.  But her husband has decided to give it a try so she thinks perhaps…

We asked Lindley for some tips for beginners, and will share them here, in her own words:

“Redefine what you can’t do and what you  won’t do.   After I finished  the 3.1 miles, (uh 5K..)  I remembered that I had thought 5K was an impossible distance to begin with, but I made it.   So after that, I knew I could go further even if I didn’t want to.   I COULD do it, but I had to mentally challenge myself to WANT to do it.   I would even say that to myself out loud to myself sometimes on the run.  I’m sure any passers by thought I was nuts, I’d talk to myself, or sing out loud with my music. I am classified as a “recreational runner” and because of my age – almost 50, a “master runner”.   So doesn’t that make me a “recreational master runner”?    I learned these tips from a few blogs I found, with my inspiration being a serious career runner, an iron man with Type 1 diabetes.  I figured that if he could do the iron man while wearing an insulin pump and testing his blood sugars every hour…then I could run a  quick  90 minutes,  which was the time it took me to do the Gate.

  • Start small.  Walk, walk fast, jog, then run.  Do this at least 3 times a week.
  • Don’t use a track unless you’re on a team, it’s so boring!   Use www.mapmyrun.com and see where that will take you.  I was able to map out all of my training lengths starting from my front door.
  • Get mace if you’re front door is near my front door.  I was bitten by a small dog and a large dog, had to run from what I thought was a dead raccoon, and just recently a mother duck swooped me.  I’m guessing it was a mother duck, she literally grazed the top of my head as she flew past me, squawking.
  • The “serious runners are right!”  Let your body rest at least every other day (I nearly wore myself out trying to run longer and longer day after day).
  • Get good shoes!   My shoes were “nice” ones that I used in The Human Race in October.  But sometime in December I tried to run faster by pretending my short legs were longer, and strained a knee.   The next week I went down to 1st Place Sports and had my feet sized for running and got a great pair of shoes.  Within 2 days of running, I felt like new again.
  • Get cool, comfortable clothing with all the support you need in the right places.  They don’t have to be expensive. My favorite shorts with a pocket came from Goodwill and my favorite top from Wal-Mart ( a total of about 12 dollars for both).
  • Get good music and an MP3 player.  It is amazing what GOOD running music will do for you and how much further you’ll go.  I run to various upbeat songs, as long as they make my feet take one more step:    Shrek’s version of  Livin la vida Loca, the instrumental version of Time Warp, and We are A Band from Audio Adrenaline are just a few. I invested in an MP3 player that I could see the screen on when I am running and opted to carry it in my hand so I could skip songs if I was tired of one or “needed” one at a time I thought I’d quit.  Footloose was usually my pick.”

Those are the tips that helped her in the Gate River Run.  Here’s how she felt – in her own words:

“I can only thank God, my parents, and a doctor who stayed on course with me through my teen years to train me how to take care of myself.  It was such a great feeling running UP the Hart Bridge (‘cause it felt like I was saying “so there!”) and laughing all the way down to the finish line.  Really, I laughed all the way down – and that was the fun part!”

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