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They said She'd Never Walk Again, But Now She's Running!

Challenges happen. Losing your ability to walk happens, but we choose what to do with our challenges. Jodi Schottstaedt chose to run an IRONMAN® 70.3®!

I’m going to run an IRONMAN 70.3! This is the first race I have ever done. Some people start off with little races like the 5k, 10k, a half marathon, or even a marathon. But not me. I am diving right in and going straight to the IRONMAN 70.3. A few years ago, this would not have been possible because a few years ago, I couldn’t even walk.

Before the accident, I was an avid hiker, extremely fit, and I loved being healthy. I was in my third year at Utah Valley University, studying to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. It was finals week, I had just spent all day in the tutoring lab, and I was on my way home to get ready for my final. I was walking in the parking lot to my car when, suddenly, a car flew in out of nowhere. I remember looking to make sure I was clear to walk and the next thing I knew the car was hitting me.

It ran my foot over and struck my leg and my body, throwing me away from the car. I landed on my back, on a backpack stuffed full of clothes. That extra padding probably saved my life. I was laying on the ground, and I couldn’t get up. Everyone gathered around, and the ambulance came and took me to the hospital. They took x-rays and said my foot was broken, it was crushed, in many different places. My knee and my hip were also hurt. They said I needed surgery. I didn’t want to have surgery. I wanted to heal naturally, but my foot would not heal.

I could not walk, run, hike, bike, or go to the gym. For a while, I got really depressed. My new immobility was probably the hardest thing I have ever been through. Two surgeries left me still unable to walk. The doctor told me my foot might not ever heal completely, and I might not ever be able to walk again. I could not put any weight on my foot. I had to move to St George, where there was family to help me. I started taking classes at the local college. I started to go back to the gym, on crutches wanting to at least work out my upper body. I had to do something. This accident was not going to end me. I went back to the doctor, and I told them they had to do one more surgery because I wanted them to take out all the screws. They advised against it but finally agreed.

After a month of recovery, I started to walk again. I was back at the gym full time. It took almost a year to feel normal. Sometimes I still walk with a limp, and my foot hurts after standing too long, It swells up and sometimes feels like it’s been broken all over again. I don’t let that stop me. Last summer I discovered Zion National Park. I literally took 20-mile hikes every weekend. I started trail running. I love long distance hikes. I also discovered that the Sunwarrior company was based locally. I loved Sunwarrior protein already, so I decided I had to have a job there. I made it my goal to get a position with the company, and I did.

Sunwarrior supports their employees to do some of the local races, which led me to make my New Year’s resolution to start doing races. The first race I am going to do is the IRONMAN 70.3. I even joined a team of semi-pro athletes to train with. I know I can do it, I know if I set my mind, train well, and think positively, I will go and compete, and I will finish the race. This race means a lot to me. It is just amazing to think that a couple years ago, I thought that I would never walk again. It was a hard time in my life. Coming back from that was not easy. I have worked so hard to get back to where I was before, and I’m still not 100%, but now I am going to run the IRONMAN 70.3. 100% is what we make it.

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