A chat with Runner Unleashed on running and the NYC Marathon

We have a pretty great group of ambassadors, one of them being Gelcys Castaneda which some of you may better know as Runner Unleashed or the Scoliosis Runner. 


Out of everything you could do, why is running your true passion?

Running has been my escape. My escape from a life of not being able to do anything. A life stuck in bed witch chronic pain. For that one hour I spend running, it's the only time I am pain free. The only time that my Scoliosis isn't in control of my life.

What makes New York Marathon special to you?

I had to stop running once I got my first spinal fusion. Doctors told me that it wouldn't be possible to run again because my back is too weak to handle the demands of running. After a few more surgeries, I had had enough! Moved to Orlando,FL and had just had my son after a difficult pregnancy. I started off walking with him in a stroller and worked my way up to running. It took me a year to run a mile successfully. I could only handle 200 meters at a time because the pressure, pain, and the lack of breathing room in my lungs made it hard. I never gave up and kept pushing and fighting until I was back to running again. I decided to run races and told my husband on the first race (local 5K) that I was going to make the New York Marathon MY dream race. I estimated me running that race many many years from now. Not imagining running it on the first time I enter the lotto. To me, nothing compares to the energy of the city, the colors, the weather, and the love I have for NY.

What are your biggest struggles when dealing with scoliosis and running?

My biggest struggles have gotten a little worse, along with new struggles. My spine has curved an additional 11 degrees on the top (I have a double curve, called the S curve) The breathing is a problem. My spine is putting pressure on my lungs and one has limited space due to the curve so taking a deep breath is tough. From all the surgeries, I have tons of muscle and nerve damage causing my right arm to go numb with ridiculous pain. Since my spine is curving to the left, now my left side has become a problem with deep pressure pain on my chest. MY shorter leg has gotten shorter and my hip is always hurting.(Wasn't an issue before) Sitting and laying down is challenge. I am most comfortable standing up. It's a miracle if I can find a comfortable position now.

Have you run a marathon before? If so, which ones?

The New York City Marathon will be my 3rd marathon! My first marathon was the runDisney Walt Disney World marathon. The following year(this past January) I did the Goofy's race and a half challenge. And I am proud to say, I successfully finished it. It is a 39.3 miles challenge of running the half and full marathon back to back.

What is your favorite product in the October/November RunnerBox?

I enjoy getting RunnerBox bi monthly! I have found my favorites through it! It has saved me A LOT of time searching for the perfect snack, energy bar, and gels! This box has the I heart keenwah quinoa cluster which I LOVE! I love quinoa and these are just delicious! I also like the ProTings zesty nacho chips! *UPDATE: Gelcys completed the NYC Marathon. Whoo! We are so proud of her and are ever inspired by her determination and relentless pursuit of her dream!


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