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

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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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