September 30, 2019 3 min read
"Fortune Favors The Bold" is a Zensah series featuring inspiring stories of athletes pushing their limits to achieve boldness.
Being bold, to me, is about being confident and courageous regardless of the risk or raw emotions at hand. To be bold is to be fearless despite anything standing in your way.
Many wouldn’t know this but I battle a rare disease called uveitis, a form of eye inflammation. I’ve battled this for over 9 years with still no answers of what could be causing it; usually linked to an autoimmune or inflammatory disease. (hence why you almost always see my running in a compression sock like Zensah) It’s something I don’t normal talk about because people don’t understand. Treatments consist of multiple dosages of eye drops daily, immunosuppression weekly, and Humira injections biweekly. I used to think that was a lot to handle until another I hit another wall.
Last Summer when I was training for my 7th marathon, I went in for a routine eye appointment where the doctor found my eye pressure was in the 40s; 60s can lead to blindness. I was rushed to a glaucoma specialist where they found I had lost 50% of the vision in my left eye and required surgery in that very eye to stop further blindness. Here I was, 4 weeks before my goal Marathon race with a big decision to make. Thankfully, my doctor would allow me to push surgery out until days after the Marathon, however it would come with a price.
I was put on an oral glaucoma medication, which had to be taken 4x a day, with some less than ideal side effects being dizziness and tingling of extremities. I told myself to power through because it was the only option I had. And so I started the medication and on with training I went. When I say I was tired, I was the most exhausted I have ever felt. Every run my legs felt like a ton of bricks and I struggled to keep up; all my paces stayed in the recovery range and even that felt too hard to maintain. I cried every single day, sometimes on the side of the road before the sun came up, and slept as much as I could; feeling as though my marathon dream was slipping further and further away from me… but regardless, I kept showing up.
On marathon day, I had no belief once-so-ever that I would be able to run the race I had attempted to train for but looking back now, I am so glad I didn’t quit; that I refused to quit, pushing through every single workout in the last month of training. I ended up finishing that marathon, Wineglass Marathon, (my 7 th ) with a 12+ minute PR; a finish time of 4:05 – my current PR and strongest, most confident marathon I have ever run. How crazy is that? I still look back now and smile over it all. Pushing the limits regardless of how awful I felt and refusing to give up even though I felt as if my hard work wasn’t enough; giving me the confidence to keep on running marathons... and to continue to chase (and run
down) my dreams.
I learned that no matter how hard times may get, you must keep showing up and absolutely should keep fighting regardless of the odds against you… and you want to know why? Because you must be bold and live your dreams! Never give up, keep showing up and remember: “You decide every day who you will and will not be. Be bold in your decision but remember, choose wisely.”
Kristen Garzone is a 8x Marathoner, raises money for Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit organization that raises money for global maternal health and we're proud to have her as a Zensah Ambassador!
WATCH VIDEO BELOW TO SEE KRISTINE GARZONE'S BOLD STORY
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