Hello Everyone! My name is Shawnee Perkins and I am a Physical Therapist with a bucket list goal of running a half marathon. Now, for the big time runners out there, this may seem like a walk in the park. For others, it could be comparable to climbing Mt. Everest. For me, running a half marathon falls somewhere in the middle.

I have never been a great runner. I would run as part of sports conditioning but never for exercise alone. I am more of a gym-goer and enjoy lifting weights and HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) with a focus on building strength, power, and stability. I enjoy the feeling of working hard until I drop…but in a timely manner. Endurance is not my strong suit.

About 6 years ago, while I was attending university, I had been going to the gym regularly to lift weights and attend fitness classes. The biggest drawback was TIME. It took so much time to get ready, walk across campus to the facility, put extra stuff away, before even starting my routine. Although I walked to the gym and I would occasionally ride my bike to save time, I was lacking a solid cardio routine. I wanted something easy and straight forward so that I would stay devoted to the plan. Several of my roommates were runners and it seemed so easy to just change, walk out the front door, and take off for wherever and how ever long I wanted. I made a goal to get up every morning, rain or shine, and run before classes. I set my alarm for 5:00 am and began a steady love/hate relationship with running.

Let me explain more about my background so you may understand why this is a love/hate relationship and why I am committed to this goal. I have a very long history of ankle pain resulting in additional injuries and eventually underwent two surgeries on my left foot. Running had always been a painful experience for me. During sports, I envied my teammates who were fast and could run for lengthy periods without painful consequences. I desired to run but my body held me back. This is the HATE part of this relationship. On and off throughout high school, I would try again to identify as “a runner”. I would head out for 2-3 miles, get lost in music, and let the world melt away. When I got back from a run, the following 10-15 minutes was the most rewarding exhaustion you could feel.

After a run, there was no energy left to spend on stress or worries, just energy to focus on breathing. Complete Freedom. This is the LOVE part of this relationship. However, after about 30 minutes, my ankle pain would come roaring back full force and even walking would be a challenge for the next two days. And the vicious cycle continues.

Painting a picture of the situation?

Since recovering from my last surgery four years ago, I have been working towards improving my ability to run. Specifically, running without pain. It has helped that I am now aPhysical Therapist with a better awareness of my previous faults and proper training methods. I now start small and gradually increase my distance while I continue to train for strength, stability, and flexibility. Whole body health is BETTER health. I have since ran several 5k (3.2 miles) events and even reached a period of tolerating 6 miles, but never a distance like a half marathon. I feel a full marathon may be too much for me, so my sights are set on the 13.1 miles between myself and success.

Now that you know my story and why I am determined to achieve this goal, I will be blogging monthly updates on my journey. I have entered a half marathon for August 17, 2019 and am excited to keep you all posted on things that do work, what didn’t work, what I struggle with, and what I am succeeding with. Follow the series on the Mobilize Physical Therapy Blog or Instagram page to support me and inspire yourself!