Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Love Song From My Wife

My wife Jennifer handed me the October issue of the Running Journal last night. As I read what she had written I found I had no words to reply...tears, idle tears, I know what they mean. I may be a dumb guy, but even Forrest found his Jen-nay. It happens.

And when we die we say we'll catch some blackbird's wing
And we will fly away to heaven

Come some sweet blue bonnet spring

- Nanci Griffith, "Gulf Coast Highway"


My Running Hero (Chapter II).

About two years ago I wrote a brief article that Running Journal published regarding why my husband, Richard Blalock, was my running hero. At that time he had both of his legs and had realized that he would never run another marathon nor qualify for Boston (his dream) because the damage incurred to his right ankle when a bus ran over it as a child had progressed into arthritis which could no longer be ignored. At that time he was still able to run shorter distances.

Shortly after that article Richard could no longer run at all. He could no longer even go for a simple walk without pain. After numerous doctor visits and consultations his orthopedic doctor agreed to try a custom ankle operation that would involve several procedures in order for him to have a chance at running again. Unfortunately, although considered successful by surgical standards, the operation did not give him the ability to run again as the arthritis was so severe that he was basically walking bone on bone. Even walks were painful and traveling was becoming difficult due to swelling of the ankle joint. The next option was to totally fuse his ankle which as you can imagine, for a runner, is really no option at all.

After several months of research and consultation with others Richard decided that removing the offending limb was his best choice in order to have any chance of an active life again. His orthopedic doctor was familiar and had done the procedure Richard required and the amputation was scheduled and performed without flaw. After many years of painful running and then no running at all, we were looking forward to this new stage of our lives.

It has now been 5 months since the amputation and my husband has shown such patience and fortitude through recovery and relearning to walk again that I am simply awed and so very proud of him. At his recent 5 month checkup he walked into the doctor’s office with no limp. His doctor had him walk around to show off his new leg and has asked him to speak to other amputees that need morale support as few voluntarily choose this route. As yet, he is not running but I have no doubt that he will not only be running races again but also take on more challenges.

Although I could never sum up this quickly the changes and adjustments our life has undergone in the past 5 months I am very grateful to be able to express the admiration and respect I have for my husband, my running and my life hero.

If interested in following Richard’s journey back to the running life here is his blog address: http://iiagdtr.blogspot.com/


  1. Yes Jensis, I agree, but Richard is an inspiration to us all, and especially we runners.

  2. Hey there Richard!

    I'm glad you found my blog so that I could find yours!

    Congrats on everything you've achieved so far, I'm sure it's only the beginning!


  3. Thanks Meyrick! It sure helps to read about others who have accomplished so much in this one- or no-legged boat. I haven't been able to do trail or x/c running in years even with my old ankle, uneven ground made it to painful. No excuses now!

    Good luck in your racing!

    - Richard