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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 was featured on WCVB Boston to talk about cramping during training for the Cape Cod Marathon. 

 

 

MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG

8 Questions with Dan Fitzgerald: Co-founder of Heartbreak Hill Running Co. and coach of the Heartbreakers.

Carbs and Protein: 7 tips for proper intake for optimal fuel. 

Crowie Alexander: Tips on training for IRONMAN, how to conquer obstacles and why he trusts HOTSHOT to keep cramps – and limitations – out of the picture.  Click here

What are TRP Channels? Read about why HOTSHOT’s specific calibration of spices are helping to make muscles resistant to cramping.