“Remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”
Do you think that running is not in your blood and you can’t become a successful endurance runner and complete a marathon race? Have you suffered an injury and you are afraid to start running again? This true, inspirational story of willpower and self-discipline will change your mind.
“I was never a runner, I became one,” tells Danielle Magiera, who completed her first marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes after recovering for six months because of a knee injury.
Running was not in her blood, she has developed her love for running. Even though she was an athlete while growing up, she never liked running. However, she changed her mind during her junior year of college, when she came home for a semester.
“In 2011, I began working at a local gym,” tells Danielle. “Every day I would see people on the treadmill and was impressed by their constant motivation to run. I became inspired and decided to start running regularly.”
One day she talked to her coworker about her running progress and he suggested her to run a 5k. Without hesitation she signed up for the Chilly Challenge in the middle of winter in Buffalo, New York. She trained for a couple months prior to the race.
“Anxious and excited I was at the starting line with snow on the ground in the middle of winter,” she remembers. “This was an experience unlike any other. When I reached the finish line, I was beyond excited.”
When she saw her time, she knew she could do better and she soon signed up for her next race. “This is where my love for running began,” she reveals. From that day on she took on 5k, 10k and 15k races and eventually half marathons. Her times improved race after race and she gained a lot of confidence. Her fellow members at the gym always supported and encouraged her. Then the time came to try something bigger and she decided to run the Buffalo marathon in 2012.
”I believe limits are made when you feel like you have accomplished everything and I knew I needed another challenge, a full marathon,” she tells.
Unfortunately, while training for her first marathon, she injured her knee because of lack of experience, knowledge and incorrect gate. She suffered from chondromalacia, cartilage damage, commonly known as runner’s knee. Although she could barely walk and was unable to run at that time, she religiously focused on her goal, to run again. She spent the next six months doing physical therapy, correcting her gate and mobility. As the knee pain began decreasing, her desire to start running again began increasing.
“When I look back on my injury, I realized it was a blessing in disguise,” she tells. “I became more aware of my body and realized how important it was to learn from others.”
There were several things she learned from her injury: the importance of listening to your body, having the right running technique, learning from others and following a structured plan. This was the time when her passion for running grew even stronger. She had always encouraged people to never give up on their dreams and goals, and she wasn’t going to give up hers.
When she finally recovered and her doctor gave her permission to run again, she signed up for the Buffalo marathon race in January 2013. She trained strategically, paid attention to her body and listened to the advice from more experienced runners.
“The race day came. I was nervous and scared before the race. But after the race, it was one of the greatest feelings, going from not being able to run or walk to completing 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes,” reveals Danielle.
She was excited by the results and her determination to become even better grew. She decided to take on a difficult course, Baltimore. In summer of 2015, her friend John suggested her to join Team RWB (Red, White and Blue). Their mission statement is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans through physical and community activities. Joining the Team was one of her best decisions.
“Team RWB has become like my second family,” tells Danielle. “Mentally and physically, the members of RWB have pushed and motivated me since I have joined them.”
She made her own training plan for qualifying for Boston. On the first day of training, she was ready and excited, but a man on the treadmill said to her that she wouldn’t be able to run the Baltimore marathon or qualify for Boston with that plan. His words made her uncertain.
“Am I capable of improving my time on a hilly course? Will I come to the finish line? Will I ever make it to Boston?” she asked herself.
She told Team RWB about the conversation and her growing fear, and all the members were more motivational than ever before. They said to her she shouldn’t listen to that man and pushed her to work harder. She intensified her training runs and believed she could do it.
“The race day in Baltimore came, but it was different this time,” tells Danielle. “My family, friends, gym members and the team came to support me. I felt ready to tackle the challenge. I completed it in 3 hours and 49 minutes, which was 10 minutes faster than my previous, flat course.”
Her ultimate goal is to make it to the Boston marathon and she is determined to do this next year in 2016. She firmly believes if she continues to train hard and learn from others, she will reach it. Her love and passion for running continues to grow each year and she always motivates others to follow their dreams.
“I will continue to inspire people to run, to show them that their bodies are capable of much more than they think. Whether it is in running or in life, we all encounter struggles and it is overcoming each obstacle that makes us stronger. I took my greatest weakness, running, and transformed it into my passion. We all have a calling and it is finding that passion that truly makes life enjoyable.”