Tracy Evangelos’ Marathon Journey: “I Have No Plans on Stopping.”

By: Tracy Evangelos

I love to run. Most people I tell that to think I’m crazy. Who loves to run? It’s hard and it’s boring. Not to me.

Running has been a part of my life since I was only a few years old; my father was my inspiration. He has completed 10 marathons, including the Boston Marathon four times, four half-marathons and too many 5K and 10K races to count. I was too little to remember all of his races, but the numerous trophies that lined the basement where I grew up are a testament to his running ability. He recently ran a 10K running at a 7:48 minute pace — at 63!

I started running in high school – cross-country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring – and continued running on my own during college. I ran two half-marathons, and have jumped into the Boston Marathon as a “bandit” running until the halfway point in Wellesley where my dad was there to cheer me on.

Then, on September 13, 2007, everything changed and my world came crashing down. After a fit of strange symptoms occurred one day at work, I landed in the emergency room. I went through test after test while the doctors tried furiously to figure out what was wrong with me, and then I got my diagnosis: Multiple Sclerosis. I was stunned. I’d just turned 25 and thought, how could this happen? The only thing I knew about MS that day was that I’d probably end up in a wheelchair and unable to walk…or run.

It took a couple of weeks to push past that relapse and I essentially taught myself to walk and run again. I am a strong person, and I refused to let this diagnosis change anything in my life, especially my active lifestyle. So I continued to run.

Over the past two years, I began experiencing muscle cramps in my feet after long or intense periods of exercise, particularly running. I modified my exercise regimen to focus on very short runs or walking and included more weight training to help keep those muscle cramps at bay. However, I began to really miss distance running, so this summer I decided to sign up for my first marathon – the Cape Cod Marathon.

The first few weeks of training were difficult. Jumping back into running five to six days a week is no easy task and I really had to push myself to complete some of the training runs. I was rewarded with muscle cramps in my feet, but I had no plans on stopping.

I learned about HOTSHOT from a friend as a solution for athletes to prevent and treat exercise-associated muscle cramps. I decided to give it a try, taking it 20 minutes before my runs. To my wonderful surprise, I experienced no cramping in my feet during and after my runs – I felt great.

Recently, I forgot to take a HOTSHOT before a short, 3-mile run. It was hot and humid out — a horrible combination — and I got a cramp in my feet as soon as I finished. I grabbed a HOTSHOT and drank it while my foot was cramping and I could feel it go away in just a few minutes. What a relief! HOTSHOT has allowed me to continue doing what I love — running.

I’m not running a marathon because I have MS and can say, “Look at me, look what I can do with MS.” I’m not looking for pity or sympathy. I don’t need to advertise it on race day. I’m not a runner with MS. I’m just a runner and it’s been a dream of mine since I was I was a little girl. Stay tuned, because now it’s time for MY sneakers to hit the pavement!


Tracy and HOTSHOT



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