The day I decided to become stronger

By Daniela Morales from Leon Mexico (MEX)

 

Hi. My name is Daniela Morales. I am the second of four siblings. When I was born my mother was told that I had a condition in my back, spina bifida oculta. My parents were very scared but the doctor told them that I could have a normal life. I would not be able exercise vigorously for the rest of my life, and I would probably be unable to have kids in the future.

 

When I was a child I was always surrounded by sporting activity. My father was a marathon runner and used to organize races as a hobby - most especially the Marathon Tangamanga in San Luis Potosí Mexico. He brought running into our lives and entered us into many races - where I was always the last participant.

 

I decided that sports were not for me. Throughout my life I have always been thin so I didn’t find any reason to practice sport.

 

My three siblings ran a marathon with my father and he used to say that I was the only one missing.

 

I got married when I was 23 and I went lo live to El Paso, Texas. This was a very difficult time for me because I had never been so far away from my family. My husband used to work a lot and I spent a lot of time alone.  I decided to TRY running, if only for a few minutes.

 

Later we went to live to live in Leon Guanajuato Mexico, a few hours away from my family. I was very happy! A few years later I got pregnant and  had my first son Agustin. Two years after that I decided to run a marathon and asked my father to run with me. He was so excited - his daughter the anti-athlete wanted to run!

 

I trained for many months and the day finally arrived. Our marathon was in Austin Texas in US in 2008. I remember that I had a pain in my foot from the first kilometre but I tried to ignore it. When I got to 37km I decided to stop at a medical point where I received some medicines and an ointment. When I tried to run again I couldn’t take a step - I had to return to the medical center and instead of receiving a medal I was given a pair of crutches. I was really sad because my dad didn’t want to continue and instead he went in the ambulance with me, even though he was really prepared to finish.

 

I got pregnant again and it was a twin pregnancy. A few months into the pregnancy I lost one of the babies and that’s when I really started to suffer. My doctor told me that I had to stay in bed. It was difficult because a I had an 18-month old child but I received a lot of help from my family. I spent time in the hospital when I was in danger of aborting, but finally my waters broke and Patricio came into the world weighing just one kilogram. He was the tiniest baby I had ever seen. Being so premature he spent two months in the hospital between surgeries and he was put on a ventilator, but finally I received my baby.

 

The following years were a big struggle and sport was out of my life. Four years later my third child, Rodrigo, was born. I had put on a lot of weight so I decided to start running, and to run the Chicago Marathon. On this occasion my attempt was frustrated because I experienced a neuropathy that stopped me training and gave me cramps. Pain and fear were rising to high levels and the neurosurgeon told me that I should never run marathons. I could continue running half marathons but the condition I had been born with did not allow me to run that much and I should be grateful to be walking.

 

My children grew older and I decided to try again - and I did it. Up to now I have run seven marathons. 

 

Thanks to God my husband has always been supportive. He suggested that maybe I should try a Triathlon (he is an Ironman). I didn't believe I was capable of doing it. He bought me a bike, I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a child so I was terrified. My husband spoke to a dear friend Marisol Franco (an international triathlete) and she gave me riding classes. She taught me the basics and I did my first triathlon in Xcaret (Cancun) in the newcomer category. Since then I have continued with Sprint and Olympic triathlons and finally a half Ironman, along with my husband.

 

It has been a difficult path for me because I used to be frightened of the sea, but I confronted that fear and I have now finished three half Ironmans. I put this down to the discipline and strength I have gained by running marathons. 

 

Running is my biggest inspiration, my happiness when I am sad, my moments of reflection, my best therapy.