Parkinson’s may have caused me to fall, but I am determined and I will finish!

I’m 58 years old; diagnosed with a progressive neurological disorder called Parkinson’s Disease about 3 years ago and started walking with a cane about 2 years ago.  I started running just short of a year ago after my youngest daughter said she wanted to run a race in all 50 states.  She signed up for a 4 mile race in Iowa near my oldest daughter and we planned to go watch.  I wanted to surprise her and run with her, I had run in the military and figured I could again so I signed up as well, then checked with my neurologist as to if it was okay for me to race.  The answer came back, “No. That’s too far, no more than 1K because of the Parkinson’s; you’re too likely to fall and injure yourself.”

When I started running my first couple of days I spent a good deal of time picking myself up off the ground.  I couldn’t run more than 20 – 30 yards without falling, I would lose my balance and rhythm and either both feet would try to move forward at the same time or neither foot would move forward.  But, I had told myself that I was going to run with my daughter in Iowa, though she didn’t know it yet.  After a week of pounding the pavement with body parts other than my feet my brain finally got the idea what to do and I started running normally.

I started training on my own.  I over trained and ran the race in Iowa with a stress fracture of my left heel and paid for it for the next 2 months.  With the help of the great folks at Fleet Feet Sports Fox Valley, and their No Boundaries program, I got back on track and completed the Fox Cities 5K and I am in love with running; you could say I’m an endorphin junkie.  I mentioned that I use a cane.  I’m not going to say that running has made difference in my Parkinson’s Disease, but since I have been running I no longer use a cane.

The 2013 Cellcom Half Marathon is going to be my first.  As such, I have what I consider three very simple goals, 1) to complete the entire 13.1 miles on my own, 2) to have an official time, and 3) probably the most important enjoy the experience.

-Tim Riley


3 thoughts on “Parkinson’s may have caused me to fall, but I am determined and I will finish!

  1. I always find it amazing what a great attitude and a little exercise can do to fight off aging and chronic deseases. Way to go and keep it up!

  2. I am so inspired by your story. I will be running my 1st half, at the back of the pack as I am a slow runner. If I falter, your life story will surely pick me up and keep me going. Go Tim Go!!!

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