A Can’t Quit Woman

The following is a feature from DrLindseyMathews.com. Lindsey is a chiropractor that specializes in biomechanics and, most specifically, women’s health and pregnancy. She is also the official doctor of Functional Fitness on the Bluffs.

I train with Functional Fitness on the Bluffs at the intersection of Marguerita and Ocean in Santa Monica, CA. Every morning for the past 6 months we have seen people running by preparing for the L.A. Marathon that happened yesterday.

A marathon is 26.2 miles. To complete all 26.2 miles and cross that finish line is a great accomplishment and on many folks’ bucket lists. The winning times for the LA Marathon yesterday for the women’s category was 2:25:39 by Fatuma Sado and Simon Njoroge won the men’s category with 2:12:12.

As most of you know, the Summer Olympics are in London in August 2012. The American marathon trials were held this past January in Houston. Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, and Abdi Abdirahman represented the American men. The American women included: Shalane Flanagan, Desi Davila, and Kara Goucher. 

Sam Buck. Cannot. Be. Stopped.

However, there is no one that I want more to win the gold in the marathon than the lovely Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain.

Here’s her story:

She was born in England on December 17, 1973. She started running at seven years old and ran her first international race by the age of twelve. Paul Radcliffe is hands down the best female marathon runner. However, she has been plagued by injury and illness during multiple Olympic games. 

Paula has won the London Marathon three times. She has won the New York Marathon twice. She has won the Chicago marathon. She has won 6 of the 7 marathons she has raced in. She has the world record for the marathon of 2:15:25 set in London in 2003. 

Paula was favored to win the gold in the marathon at the Summer Olympics in 2004 in Athens. Two weeks prior to the race, she suffered a thigh injury. Paula took NSAIDs and had an adverse reaction that curbed her ability to absorb any nutrients prior to the race. Paula basically started the marathon on empty. With close to four miles left, Paula pulled out of the race, walked to the side of the road and collapsed. Paula ran until she could not stand up any more nor could she identify where she was at the moment. 

In 2005, Paula won the marathon at the world track and field championships in Helsinki. She was back!

Paula took some time off from racing between 2006 and 2007 due to an injury and pregnancy. Paula continued to train throughout her pregnancy. She gave birth to her first child in 2007. On September 30, 2007, she raced the Great North Run in the UK. She finished second to the American, Kara Goucher. On November 4th, 2007, Paula won the NY marathon- 10 months after giving birth to her daughter! 

Paula was invited back to the Summer Olympic games in Bejing 2008. A few months prior to the games, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her femur. She trained for the games in the pool and utilizing anti-gravity treadmills. She thought she gained her fitness back in time for the Olympic games, but suffered during the marathon and limped across finish line 23rd with a time of 2:32:28. (This is 7 minutes behind the woman who won the LA Marathon this past Sunday.) 

Paula won the NY Marathon in 2008, while American Kara Goucher finished third. These two elite runners had been friends since the Great North Run in 2007.  In January 2010, both ladies found out they were pregnant- Paula with her second child and Kara with her first child. Ironically enough, they had the same due date. They trained together in Oregon throughout their first trimesters. Kara referred to Paula has her “mommy-mentor” since she had run all the way through her first pregnancy. 

Paula gave birth to her son in 2010 and two weeks later was running again. The year after her second child Paula describes as one of the hardest year’s of her life. She was diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis and disc bulge with radiculopathy. She considered retiring but has way too much passion for running to throw in the towel just yet.

At the London Olympics 2012, Paula will be 38 and a mom of two. She has been training smart and hard. Her coach and husband says, “Paula trains to race.” Without a doubt, she will run with more heart and fight than any other marathoner that day.


Dr. Lindsey Mathews


Tuesday’s Workout:

For time:
100 Squats
6 rounds:
3 Power Clean (135/95)
12 Over-the-Bar Lateral Jumps

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *