Image of runner running on boardwalk. Read Brittany Drennan's edition of My Running Story to learn how she's been given the opportunity to run again.

Thankful for Being Given the Opportunity to Run Again

After her injury, Brittany is grateful to have the opportunity to run again

Most of us don’t actually realize how much we love running until it’s gone. Sure we love getting outdoors, making new friends, de-stressing. But imagine for a minute that you can’t run again. Brittany Drennan lived in that world for 18 months. That’s how long her rehab from a terrible hip injury took. Read her edition of My Running Story to understand how grateful she is to have the opportunity to run again and how hard she’s worked to get to the 2020 Austin Half Marathon start line.

Intro to running

Brittany Drennan poses with a half marathon finisher medal. Read her edition of My Running Story to learn how she's been given the opportunity to run again.I have always been an emotional person. It’s just who I am. I cry at sappy movies and symphonies. And I can’t even play an instrument. In 2008, I registered for the Baylor Bearathon (half marathon) and I still don’t know what possessed me to do that. I had never run more than the occasional 5K.

The Bearathon is grueling, with about 5-6 miles of rolling hills. Having only run about 6 miles as my “long run” and never doing hill work, I thought my legs were going to detach from my body after Mile 7. I vividly remember thinking, “Where is the school? Waco is not that big…” But I don’t remember finishing. The next day I cried trying to get out of my bunk bed, my body hurt so badly.

I ran the Bearathon consistently for several years and as I was preparing for the 2015 race, I lunged to catch a patient at work and felt a pop in my left hip. While running the next day, I fell to the ground due to a subluxation of my left hip. As I crawled back to the house, I began to panic, tears streaming down my face. If I can’t walk, how can I run? I forfeited my Bearathon entry that year and was absolutely devastated.

It took about 18 months to rehab my hip. I worked from the ground up; crying tears of frustration when my hip couldn’t even tolerate the recumbent bike. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured. Near constant pain with no end in sight. I’d ask myself, “Why am I doing this? What am I trying to prove?”

The opportunity to run again

More than two years later, I lined up for the 2017 Bearathon. I was choking back tears of anxiety and fear. What if my hip goes out? Will everything I’ve done be for not? Two and a half hours later, I crossed the finish line in near hysterics. But finally, FINALLY, my tears were not from pain or frustration or fear. They were tears of joy and gratitude. I had been given the opportunity to run again.

I completed my tenth half this past October. Now when I cross the finish line of every half I weep. I used to be embarrassed. It’s not like I won or anything similar. Now I realize that it’s just my body’s way of saying “thank you.” I can’t wait to cross the Austin Half Marathon finish line!

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, and Blair Nagel.