INDIANAPOLIS — Dania Whittey has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic as someone with cystic fibrosis. Now, after 20 weeks of training, she is ready to run Saturday in the CFO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
The Monumental Marathon, one of the 15 largest races in the country with thousands of participants, is back this year after going virtual last year.
WRTV previously followed Wittey to learn about how she properly fuels her body to potentially fight off COVID-19, how her kids and her family reacted to the news of a vaccine being readily available and now we're talking about her running 26.2 miles for the first time — a huge feat for someone living with cystic fibrosis.
“For the record, I did talk to my doctor and my nurse about it, and they said that they are fine as long as I listen to my body,” Whittey said.
Now, she's ready to finally pound the pavement this weekend.
I’ve been following her throughout her training as she dealt with highs and lows.
“I am not the traditional marathon runner in training by any means,” Whittey said.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs.
I met with her in August during her fifth week of training when we had heat advisories and poor air quality due to the fires in the western United States.
"That meant on the treadmill for me," Whittey said. "Today is very humid. Just talking to you out here, I can feel it heavy on my lungs, but it doesn't have to be pretty. Some days, she sets a pace and we're both in agreement that some days, I'm not going to hit that pace. It's just about getting out on the road and getting my body used to pounding on this pavement."
In week 12, her lungs were getting used to the humidity, but an ankle injury slowed her down. Her longest run to date is 20 miles.
“Once I was done, I felt amazing because it was like making history for me,” Whittey said.
On Saturday, whether she runs, walks or crawls, she’ll finish the race and hopes she inspires someone to do the same.
"I hope it makes at least once person decide, you know, what I can do that," she said.