Ever Wonder Why Someone Runs? Here’s the Best Reason Ever!

Here is how Jo got into running and why she is doing it. Please, please consider making a donation to this wonderful organization, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Be watching for Jo’s next update soon!

By: Jo Warlick

My name is Jo and I am running the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco in October of this year. If you know me at all, you are probably thinking that those words could have not ever been spoken from my mouth. I am probably the biggest wimp in the world. Since I was a little girl, I have been terribly shy – the kind of kid that hung on to her mother’s legs in public places. As a teenager, I made my twin sister order fast food for me every time – even if I was the one driving when we went through the drive-thru. I am the LAST person I ever expected to take on this challenge.

When my teacher friend, Sheila, asked me to go to a meeting about a marathon, the only reason I went was because she told me that we could have a “girls only” weekend in California and the organization would pay for it. When I got there all these people were so excited and did a good job of convincing us that it would be easy to train for a marathon – they assured is that they would be with us each “baby step” of the way. Initially, I thought we were going to walk a half marathon, but before I knew it, I had signed up for the WHOLE marathon as a runner! It didn’t sink in until I got home and began reading the “Welcome to Team in Training” packet and realized that I would be running 26.2 miles. I had no idea a marathon was that long. I also let Sheila talk me into a fundraising goal of $3,900! What was I thinking? I can’t even order pizza – how was I going to ask people for money?

I was blessed with a high metabolism, so I have NEVER had to exercise in my life. I have never even been on a diet and have only walked two 5k events – one to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes (my nephew has it), and the other for my son’s high school baseball team as a fundraiser. When I started reading about what I would have to do to train for this marathon, I must admit that I thought about just giving up before I started. My first week was terrible! The trainers told us to begin running at a slow pace for as long as we could stand it, then walk for 1 minute to catch our breath – then run again. I did not even run 15 seconds before I thought I was going to pass out. The first few days went more like run 15 seconds, walk 5 minutes, run 15 seconds – I never made it even one mile that first week. I finally got to where I could go for one mile (mostly walking) by the end of the second week and then it was time for our first “long run”.

Once a week (Saturday mornings) we meet with our trainers in Birmingham for a long run. My friend who talked me into this was sick and couldn’t go – WHAT! I had to go to a strange place I hadn’t been to before all by myself and run with strangers? I can not even tell you how scared I was. I shocked myself and everyone who knows me by running the whole 6 miles that first Saturday! – and it felt GREAT – until I got home. About three hours later, nothing in my body functioned properly. I could not move my legs and my knees hurt so bad, I could not stand up. The next day, I went to Wetumpka to spend a few days at my sister Joy’s house. (FYI – it is 26 miles from Rockford to Wetumpka – am I crazy or what?) She was going to run with me that first evening. We didn’t even make to the end of her street before I was picking myself up off the street – literally! My knees buckled, not once, but several times, and I had to stop. I sent an email to my trainers and they suggested that I take a week off to rest. Apparently, I had “runner’s knee”. Who knew there was such a thing as that? Luckily, I was scheduled to go on a mission trip with our youth group the next week and that was my excuse not to run while I was there.

My knees are better now, and I am proud to say that I have run at least one mile every night this week – I even ran 2 miles tonight! Saturday I am supposed to run 9 miles with my trainers, so we will see what happens. I will keep you posted. I would really appreciate all of your prayers and support while I take on this – the greatest challenge of my life – but it doesn’t even compare to those who are struggling with Leukemia and Lymphoma. Together we can all help find a cure!

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