Meet and read the unbelievable story of Courntney Blasius….
At 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.
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-