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!