Be thankful for being alive

Fitness has always been a big part of my life. Growing up, my dad included push-ups, sit-ups, and runs as part of my “chore chart”. Take out the trash, do 50 push-ups, clean the bathrooms, 1-mile run. He played in the minors, so I had a bat in my hand as soon as I could hold it.

I went on to play Division I softball. Like a lot of DI athletes, I struggled when I graduated. No more 4 hours practices on weekends. No strength and conditioning coach designing your workouts and making you run. Then I found OCR.

I was hooked (just like everyone else) and immediately signed up for World’s Toughest Mudder- a 24-hour obstacle course race in the middle of the desert outside Las Vegas. During my training, I was climbing a rope that then snapped, sending me to fall 6 feet straight on my head. I broke my neck in two places.

My doctors told me I couldn’t lift anything overhead, couldn’t run, couldn’t carry anything over 15 pounds, and that I should have died. I was devastated.

For the months I was in my neck brace, I found a little workaround. I would load up my backpack with a few dumbbells and walk up hills for hours. When the brace came off, I started running again. A month later, I still participated in the World’s Toughest Mudder.

I’ve taken my training up several notches since then. I’m lucky to be alive and I’m lucky all my limbs are working. I was millimetres away from never walking again. From being a paraplegic. Whenever I don’t feel like working out or getting to the track, I think of all the people who can’t. And how I’m so lucky that I’m still able to. Breaking my neck gave me a new appreciation for life. Let’s make the most of it.

( Kera Pezzuti )

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