I was not a runner prior to 2015,¬† in 2013 I was¬†hospitalized and was in and out of hospitals for 3 months.¬† During this time, I’d had a stroke, suffered from renal failure, sepsis and numerous other conditions as a direct result of Ecoli that had developed on and in my kidneys.¬† When I woke up from the initial coma, my first thought was, “If I had died, I would have never known the difference” and I couldn’t remember anything that had happened.¬† It wasn’t until I ended up at UCLA the problem was diagnosed and I could begin the long road to recovery.¬† I had to learn to walk and talk all over again, there are many details, of which, I won’t bore you with, suffice to say, this got me really deciding what was important. Up to this point, I had spent most of my life working and not really living, so as part of my long road to recovery, I decided to change that.¬† I wanted to jump out of an airplane, climb a mountain and most importantly RUN A MARATHON.¬† In 2015, when I turned 50, I decided it was time to embark on these “bucket list” items, I had a new lease on life, new goals and the excitement¬†was bursting from every seam of my being!¬† Then reality hit, Let’s be honest, jumping out of an airplane doesn’t take a lot of training, however, mountain climbing and marathon running do.¬† ¬†I hit a wall at 6 miles and wasn’t sure how I would get past that number and immediately regretted signing up for my first marathon.¬† My dear friend, JoEllen (who I grew up with and who I was going to run this marathon with) said “Hey Cher, there is this guy, he is at all the Disney Expos and he does this thing called Run/Walk, his name is Jeff Galloway.¬† Maybe we should try his method and we can start by using 30/30”.¬† AWESOME!¬† I was back in business and training for both the mountain and the marathon.¬† Yes, I did climb Mt. Whitney and I ran my first marathon, both in 2016. My goal was to run the marathon in under 6 hours and we finished at 5:58.¬† It was at mile¬†23 when I realized I was going to be a marathoner, I started to cry. It was so overwhelming to me,¬†considering how hard I¬†had to fight to¬†get to that point, I¬†could¬†not have imagined this achievement, just a few short years ago.¬†¬†

I didn’t fully embrace the Galloway method until after my 3rd marathon, when I started having little injuries.¬† I was hooked on the marathon distance, but my body was protesting, I wasn’t running the miles or training to the distance and it took a toll on my body.¬† I found one of Jeff’s retreats in Carmel and signed up, I met some amazing people there and I met Jeff!¬† As I learned more about all the aspects of the Galloway method, I realized, other than using 30/30, I was doing it all wrong.¬† This was actually a relief to me since I was having injuries and thought maybe my body just couldn’t handle the¬†pounding, but I loved running!¬† I started e-coaching with Jeff (as part of my commitment to also become a Program Director for Galloway) and when I realized I was running all these long runs as part of MY training (which I hadn’t done prior), I started looking for local races to run to help me complete the miles.¬† Suddenly, I was signing up for races as part of my training and I loved every aspect of the run and #whittsyndrome was born!

I don’t keep track of my races (which freaks a lot of runners out, but I like coloring outside the box sometimes), but near as I can tell, I’ve run over 100 marathon distances, with 75 of those being races of some form.¬† I’ve completed one 100 mile race and several Ultras.¬† I don’t really know how many half¬†marathons I’ve run, but it’s probably not that many, I would say around 20.¬† My bucket list marathon was running Athens, with Jeff and Barb and crossing the finish line with them.¬† How cool to run the original marathon route with an Olympian?!

My race schedule¬†this year is pretty full, I am doing the MCM 50k, I have another 100 mile race on the schedule in July (I am fortunate to be a part of the Customized team and have Ultra Marathoner Chris Twiggs as my coach!)¬† I am running Berlin this year for the first time and have entered the lottery for NewYork, but my ultimate goal is of course the elusive unicorn! Someday I will get to Boston, I did get to run it virtually for it’s 125th anniversary, which¬†was amazing!¬†¬†

I would honestly¬†be lost without my Galloway group, they inspire me and motivate me every day.¬† I have so many amazing people I’ve met, who are now dear friends, I couldn’t imagine my life without these people or this method.¬† I love helping others fulfill their goals and achieve their dreams!¬† I am Team Galloway ALL THE WAY,¬†I can’t wait to see what’s next!¬†¬†

GET MOTIVATED by participating in the origins of our sport (and western democracy)! Join the team at Phidippides Running and Greek-American Dean Karnazes and connect to the rich history of distance running with scenic views, landmarks, and a fun podcast.

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