Sonia Perez joined Rogue Running in Cedar Park last year, but few know of her inspiring story. She was an accomplished marathoner when I met her, but her battle to get there was beyond anything I could have imagined.
She was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid Cancer in August of 2007 and had surgery in September. As traumatic and scary as this was, the worst was yet to come. In 2009, she was crushed in a car accident during a heavy thunderstorm. From the accident she had her spine fractured in three places and pelvis in seven places. She had a broken hip, a punctured kidney, punctured lung and internal bleeding in the brain. For 7 months she needed assistance 24/7. She had to relearn everything and living seemed impossible.
How did you start running? It was during this time when I was recovering, in my darkest moment that I made a plea with God. “God, if you give me my legs back I will run for you and not ever stop running”. I started with trying to walk again first. But, when I went back to work a coworker asked me if I wanted to run a marathon. I asked, “What the hell is a marathon?” I had no clue what she was talking about. We both signed up in May, but she quit after a month of training…and I didn’t. I had come too far to quit now.
Describe your first race experience? I ran the Rock-n-Roll San Antonio Marathon in November of 2011. My goal was to finish but when I hit the wall at mile 23 things became much more challenging. My finish time was 5:32:49. Family and friends were waiting for me and the accomplishment just overwhelmed me with tears of joy! This marathon gave me a passion for running and I knew I wanted to improve.
What has been your biggest running-related challenge? Well….that would be the question that I have now learned from my current coaches here at Rogue. How much time off or recovery do I give myself before my next race. I ran with several groups prior to Rogue, but Rogue has been the best because they designate training schedules to the race you are targeting and if you need more guidance, coaches are always there.
What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment? My biggest running achievement was becoming a member of the Marathon Maniacs. To become a member you have to run back to back marathons. I became a gold marathon maniac by running 3 marathons in one weekend. I did that back in 2012 shortly after my first marathon.
What’s next? My next marathon is the Chevron Houston Marathon in a few weeks. I would really like to qualify for Boston there, but if not there, then soon. I also have signed up for my first Ultra Marathon, a 100K in March. After that I’ll rely on my coaches at Rogue to help me decide the next goal. Until then……