Motivational Movers Monday #1

Hey everyone, I am excited to start this new feature on my blog. I’m especially thrilled to have an awesomely strong and courageous runner girl, Gelcys Castaneda as the first post! Gelcys is someone whom I finally met last year and have just recently started to get to really know. She and I are in the same city and it took social media to meet up! Ah, the power of the interwebs! 🙂

Gelcys has an awesome blog documenting all of her journey, Runner Unleashed. I highly recommend you follow her blog and get to know her. Beyond being a great runner, what makes Gelcy’s story so amazing is everything she has persevered through to get out there and run.


Who is Gelcys, what is your story?
I was diagnosed with Scoliosis at 14. Needed immediate surgery so I had a 14 hours long spinal fusion that changed everything. Recovery was ridiculously tough. Only to make it worse by getting rear ended in a car accident 6 months post surgery. One of the metal rods they put in my spine has come out and needed to repair it.Instead of replacing the whole rod, they just cut the piece that had come off, but what they left made a clicking, pop that you could see happening through my skin. Very uncomfortable and made everyone including myself cringe.
The piece wasn’t cut right and was left pressing the nerves to my legs. Spent a few months in the hospital doing PT trying to reduce muscle swelling and getting some relief for the pinched nerve. Nothing worked. Spent almost a whole year on crutches until they went in to try to fix it. Each surgery left me with a new problem. This one left me with chronic headaches and migraines. I never got a clear answer as to how I was left with this..lastly, I was suffering too much with pain and still leg numbness I asked a new set of doctors in Miami to remove it all. That left me with a chronic numb arm and with little to no muscles in my back.

Why do you run? What makes it important to you?
The #1 question I get is how can I run? It is the only time that I am pain free. I have pain every single day for the past 17 years and the only time I am pain free is that hour I spend running. For the longer runs I use KT Tape to keep my pain and swelling under control. I prefer looking for a more natural form of pain relief than pills. I don’t take any medication except for 1 for swelling. It took me almost a year (after having my son) to increase my distance from 200 meters to 1 mile. Today, I have done 2 marathons 7 halfs 1 goofy challenge and countless 5Ks.


Gelcys found out this year that she also was selected to run the NYC Marathon on November 1st. As she is still dealing each day with her Scoliosis, her marathon training for NYC has not been an easy one. She has been dealing with a great deal of pain for which doctors cannot seem to find a solution for. “I was hit with an odd pain 3 months ago that sent me to the ER, found out my spine is starting to curve and it has gone from a 23 degree curve on the top to 34 and from 11 degree curve on the bottom to 19. I have idiopathic Scoliosis. I have a double curve, commonly known as the S curve. Went to PT for 2 months and nothing worked bc my muscles are all being pulled in different directions. I went from 2 rotated ribs on my right to 5 rotated ribs on the right and all my upper ribs rotated on the left. They are facing the opposite way and the pain it brings is indescribable. I have damaged nerves in my hip and legs, my doctor wants to operate on it but I refuse. We came to the conclusion that nothing conventional or traditional will work for my extremely rare case, that until something new is done is research, another spinal fusion will be needed.”

Most of us cannot imagine merely functioning with day-to-day tasks let alone lacing up a pair of running shoes and hitting the road to train for a marathon with such immense pain and discomfort. But, Gelcys refuses to give up. This is such a big reason why I find her so incredibly motivating and inspirational. We have found not only a common bond with running, but we share a dream of running the NYC Marathon. “NYC has always been my dream race, the top of the list race, the BIG one so I will be crossing that finish line. No matter what it takes.”

If you had to choose one race that was your most memorable, what would it be?
My most memorable race was the goofy challenge. It was the best time I have ever had in a race and even after running the half marathon the day before I still managed to PR the marathon by an hour.

What running mantras do you have?
I have several mantras – never give up, yes I can, and twisted and strong. Bent but not broken is my usual.


How motivational is Gelcys? If you ever need a little push to get out the door for your run, think of her. Again, her blog is, Runner Unleashed. There are so many people who can’t run…this is a gift and we all need to hit the road remembering that. 🙂

**If you would like to be featured on Motivational Movers Monday, all you have to do is email me at: with a photo of yourself and a little about yourself and your health/fitness accomplishments. Also, your favorite quote or mantra.**

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