Heidi Wagner - 2015 MS Run the US Relay


MS Run the US - 2015 Relay

Los Angeles, California
Training buddies Kota

Heidi Wagner - 2015 MS Run the US Relay

 Relay Runner for the MS Run the US - 2015 Relay


MS Run the US, Inc. is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support multiple sclerosis (MS) research, while also supporting those living with disability due to MS. Their running events focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle while inspiring individuals to maximize their capabilities and become more active to help those in need. The MS Run the US – Relay is an annual 3,100-mile relay run across America for the MS cause.

Eighteen runners have been selected to run during the 2015 event.  Each will run an average of 160-miles over six consecutive days during their segment. 

Bio Overview:

I am married and coming up on our 20-year anniversary. We have been in Boise, Idaho, for about 7 years now, previously spending a few years in the DC area and about 12 in Boston.  We had always dreamed of moving west.  When my husband was presented with a relocation opportunity to Boise, we kind of scratched our heads, came for a visit, and fell in love.  It is a perfect fit for all the things we like to do. 

My husband, Timothy, is always trying something new and looking for an adventure.  As such, I have benefitted from doing things I might not try by myself, having wide and vast experiences.  We love to be outdoors with our 2 dogs, doing everything frrom hiking, biking, skiing, running, and most recently farming. Nearly a year ago our latest adventure included buying an organic farm outside Boise.  This occupies our summer months and pushes us to constantly try new things. 

Hometown: Boise, ID

Segment: #4 starting May 7, 2015 (Milford, Utah to Nephi, Utah, 136 miles, 6,181 feet of elevation gain)

Runner Story:

My first experience with running started on a weekend in college when my roommate-to-be asked if I would join her for a run (Cindy, if you are out there, thank you so much!!).  My first response was to look at her sideways and think that was the craziest thing I had ever been asked.  However, I decided to join and found I rather liked it.  Not to mention I learned it helped shed away some extra weight that I carried.  I was a chubby child and not very active.  This was a course changing event. 

During college we would consistently go out a few times a week in the mornings before classes.  After graduation, I went onto graduate school, continuing to run in the mornings.  I have never been much for treadmills or indoor workouts.  Running in Iowa during the winter months can certainly test one's mettle, but I kept at it, logging just a few miles a few days a week. 

I moved to Boston for my first job and kept with my running routine in the mornings.  I didn't have much time between the commute and the job, but was at least consistent.  During weekends I might get a slightly longer run in or get out for hiking, biking, or snow shoeing in the New Hampshire mountains with my husband, dog, and friends.

After 15 years, my husband had a job relocation opportunity that moved us from the DC area to Boise, Idaho.  I was slowly able to ramp up my mileage and ran my first half marathon in 2009, 23 years after that fateful day when I started.  I completed my first (and only) full marathon in 2012.  To this day, I still don't really think of myself as a runner, more like someone who enjoys being outside and the benefits of burning calories to eat and drink more!!  Plus these days I run with my faithful dog, Kota, and he inspires me to go further and faster.

My MS Connection:

I was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  My first response was a lot of "this has to be a mistake", "why me", "I can't believe this is happening", "what the hell am I going to do". Since then however, I have learned several things:

1.  Everyone has something.  Some people have cancer, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's disease.  Some people lose a spouse or a child before their time.  Some people go to war, lose a limb. Some fight depression, alcoholism, drug abuse.  I have MS.  It isn't what you have but what you do. I recall a colleague once said to me, "you are either on the train, or on the tracks."  I want to be on the train.

2.  Living an adventure outweighs money and titles.  The diagnosis prompted my husband and I to do something we had dreamed of for years.  We left the east coast and moved west.  It meant giving up income, losing professional opportunities, selling a house in a down market.  We haven't regretted a moment and live in a place that is 100% perfect for us.  As odd as it sounds, I thank MS for pushing me!

3.  Having MS has made me a stronger runner. Since moving, I have been able to add miles to my running, completed a handful of half marathons, 1 full marathon.  I have pushed myself to get faster. I live in the foothills and there isn't anything more magical than a trail run in the morning with my dog.  Do what makes you feel great.

4.  People complain about crazy things.  When I get tired, I think wow, I had a productive day.  When I hurt, I think wow, way to build strength.  When I don't want to get up, I think I have a great job and am thankful for my work and benefits.  I can be an ornery son-of-a-gun (you know what word I should be saying), and when I get bogged down in my crankiness, I remind myself how lucky I am, what a great life I have, what fabulous experiences I have had, how wonderful my husband is.  Remind yourself how good you really have it.

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