Hello! My name is Nicole and I was born with an Arteriovenous Malformation of the brain (AVM). I was diagnosed with my AVM at the age of three when I went in for a hearing test and found that I had a unilateral hearing loss – no one knew I was deaf in one ear.
My childhood was filled with a lot of trips to the hospital and a lot of surgeries. I have had about 24 surgeries since my diagnosis. Having all of these surgeries put a toll on my health. When I was seven, I suffered an intracranial bleed during one of my surgeries. When I was in elementary school I played t-ball and soccer, which was fun because my Dad was one of the coaches. Other than that, I didn’t really participate in sports.
In middle/high school, I joined the softball and soccer teams. I did not necessarily enjoy it because I never really got to play any games because of my disability. That discouraged me from wanting to do any other sports. I felt like no one wanted me on their team because of my disability, and that made me really sad. But then I heard about a cross country team at another school.
When I was a sophomore in high school I joined/helped create my school’s cross country team. Running became a part of my life from that moment on. So the question is… why do I run and how do I stay motivated to run and workout?
I run because it brings me a sense of peace and accomplishment. It also challenges me. I can always push myself to a further distance or a faster time (if I want). Running has helped me become healthier and want to stay active. On my off days from running, I do a workout called 21-day fix to work on building muscle and working on my balance. And let me tell you…it is WONDERFUL. It has helped me gain strength, and I think it is making me a stronger runner too.
I stay active because I am now in the habit of ignoring my excuses. I used all of the excuses in the book like “I’m too tired,” “I have too much to do,” “I have no time,” and “I just don’t want to.” I used these excuses for years. What was I really tired of? I was tired of making excuses, wanting to see results, but not wanting to work for it. So I told myself that I had to do it. It was my one thing everyday that had to be done. And now I love it, I look forward to it, and it is (usually) my favorite part of my day.
I hope my story of pushing through and finding my passion of running can help you find your next adventure.. I hope you are having a wonderful day, wherever you are. Remember, you are the change; you just have to believe.
Click the photo to learn more about Nicole Perra