The Run Down - The RunVermont Blog

Why I Run: Courtney Blasius

by jen on June 19, 2013 · 10 comments

in Why I Run

  Meet and read the unbelievable story of Courntney Blasius….

Courtney1At the age of 12, I went out for cross-country, as an after school sport.  I loved making my way through the woods. Growing up, I had difficulty stomaching food before races, and quickly developed a  ‘fun’ reputation for needing to stop, puke, and carry-on.  Not the classiest of stories, nor memories, but, thankfully, as I grew, that difficulty phased away, and I got to focus on speed workouts, weight training, and calisthenics. 

Unimaginably, I fell out of running after high school, trading in my sneakers, for bicycle cleats.  Running became more of an outlet, to clear my head, from whatever we trouble I found myself in.  I learned to appreciate running as a stress release, and fell away from pushing myself to be faster.

By the time I graduated college, I’d decided to try my hand in triathlons, so, I found my way back into training, with  friends.  I did my first sprint tri. in  2007, without a problem.  It was an incredible feeling, to achieve a physical goal, I’d needed to really train for.  I began to look I to more races, although, when September rolled around, life as I’d known it, ended.

I suffered a seemingly, random cardiac arrest.  My heart stopped.  I can actually say, I’ve died, and been brought back to life.  Although, I paid dearly for that experience.  It seems losing Oxygen to your brain, for a period of more than 10 minutes, causes catastrophic brain damage.  Where I’d planned to be developing a career on-profit management, and running around, acting my age, I was found fighting for life, with a powerful troop of family, friends, and medical professionals.  It is their belief, and testimonies to my strength, and perseverance, as well as their collective love, that has given me the strength to push myself forward.

It’s rather unusual for a 23 year olds heart to stop.  That’s what we thought too.  Investigation determined a drug to blame.  Not that kind of drug, but the contraceptive drug, Yaz.  Ironic that I took it because I wasn’t I a position, or frame of mind to have a baby, instead, I nearly became one again, from a neurological view, anyways.

I’ve spent the last 5 years repeating the physical motions, among overcoming, and learning to work with new cognitive and physical impairments.  I still work around spastic muscle activity, that makes walking, jogging, and running quite difficult, if not frightening too. 

Blueberry cove 1/2 marathon in Tenants harbor, ME. This photo is a great indicator of my lack of speed. Notice the walkers beside me, barefoot, (pregnant), and in street clothes.

In 2011, I hatched the idea to use a baby jogger, like the walker I’d had… And destroyed.  I wanted to move faster, and cover more terrain.  My vision was dramatically affected by my brain injury.  My brain takes more time to process the world around me.  I’d get the support, and stability I needed, with the added bonus of being able to feel whatever terrain was coming up.  My father is also an avid runner, was immediately on board.  He actually bought the jogger off a woman at the grocery store, out of her car.  Imagine my surprise.  My brain injury support professionals were hesitant at first, but, once I had the jogger, there was no stopping.  I did a 10k, and a handful of 5ks that first year, here, and in my home state, of Maine.  In 2012, I stepped up the distance to do two half marathons.  A long-time family friend offered the opportunity to run the premiere of a half marathon, on a scenic cove in Maine.  The course was very hilly, and stress was impossibly high, as the roads weren’t closed.  13.1 miles later, I didn’t care if I never saw that jogger again.  Although, a month later, I found myself eagerly anticipating my next half marathon  opportunity. 

The opportunity to run again isn’t about pace, speed, or distance for me.  It’s about proving to myself that there is always more to live for, even when your world tells you, it’s not possible.  Running is a sport for those with the ability to persist, and persevere.  I am so thankful to this sport, and it’s community, for whole-heatedly embracing me, and my very unlikely odds.

-Courtney C. Blasius-

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Staci Carter-Kelly June 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I saw you running in the Vermont City Marathon and was so inspired. It was my first marathon and I was injured, but determined to finish. By the 20 mile mark I could no longer run and was feeling sorry for myself. I saw you shortly thereafter and was so inspired by your strength and courage. Thank you for helping me finish my first marathon!

2 Holly June 19, 2013 at 11:20 pm

You are truly amazing and inspiring, Courtney- always were, and still are! Love you girl!

3 Danielle June 20, 2013 at 6:07 am

Your strength is beyond what words can describe, Courtney. The couple times I’ve seen you on my way to work in my car, has made me want to stop in the middle of the road and start running with you! Run Happy!!

4 Colleen Kelly Alexander June 20, 2013 at 6:17 am

You are so brave and beautiful.
I would love to speak with you someday.
I’ve also died repeatedly. 20 minutes the first time. I was run over while cycling by a freight truck. I was also a participant at the VCM. Know your being hugged from CT
Perseverance and love, Colleen

5 Dawn June 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I am a fellow Mainer who also participated in the VCM marathon. This was my first marathon and there are a few moments that I will always remember. Seeing you run was one of them. You gave me the courage to continue on when my body was telling me to quit. Thank you!

6 Jenn June 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm

This was my first marathon and I saw you around mile 19 near one of the aid stations, we briefly exchanged words of encouragement to each other. I was at the lowest part of the course for me mentally, I did not think I could go one more step and thought my marathon dreams may be coming to an end. Your courage, strength, and dedication kept me moving. As a fellow Mainer I look forward to seeing you out there again. Hopefully at this years Maine Marathon! You

7 Jenn June 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

This was my first marathon and I saw you around mile 19 near one of the aid stations, we briefly exchanged words of encouragement to each other. I was at the lowest part of the course for me mentally, I did not think I could go one more step and thought my marathon dreams may be coming to an end. Your courage, strength, and dedication kept me moving. As a fellow Mainer I look forward to seeing you out there again. Hopefully at this years Maine Marathon!

8 Rebecca June 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

9 Courtney June 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thank you for the incredible support and comfort!! Yet another reason why i love this sport- you’re all so positive! Congratulations to those of you that pushed through your pain to finish!
Jenn- I’m doing the Maine half, I hope to meet you out there!
Colleen, you are also a survivor, I also hope were able to meet one day!

10 DAVEKVT July 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Well said, Courtney, and well done! You are of course awesome, but you already knew that!

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