Sunday, January 3, 2010

My New Year

On Wednesday I had a strong urge to run the Cooper River Bridge. My only hesitation was having not run the previous week I felt it might be a harder workout than I was prepared for. Still, the weather was good with temps in the mid-50s but somewhat windy. It is almost always breezy up on the bridge and would be at my back going to Charleston and in my face on the return trip to Mount Pleasant.

I parked at the lot off of the Cold War Memorial that serves as parking for a recreational complex as well. I had not seen this monument before and took a look around while my Garmin searched for the satellite signal. It's a very imaginative display and I will check it out further at future runs.

I estimated the run would be about 6 miles and it turned out to be 6.25. From the parking lot to Coleman Blvd., it is a concrete sidewalk and the bridge is all concrete so it's not a joint friendly route. However, for hill training, it's the best around for hundreds of miles. I ran up to the foot of the bridge and drank from the water fountain, checked my socket fit and then headed up the first span.

This is the second time I've run the bridge, but the first time with Jennifer I did not run to the other end and back. The bridge has a separate bike and pedestrian-only lanes marked with paint, yet I saw at least six couples walking abreast each other in the bike lane. The danger is obvious but in my many crossings on the bridge as able-bodied and now as an amputee, I've never seen any law enforcement attending this problem. I suppose when someone is seriously hurt the lawsuit(s) will cause a change in attitudes, which seems a shame but is often the case with bureaucratic minds. A performance bike traveling 30+ mph is a potential missile and not the benign cruiser that many ride.

I stopped at the second tower to dry the liner and socket and continued the long decline to the Charleston side of the bridge. With the wind at my back it was a very easy descent, but I knew the return would be uphill and blustery. At the Charleston end of the bridge there is a drinking fountain and several benches, so I took another opportunity to dry out the liner and socket. I wished I had my Blackberry with me to take a picture of all the perspiration I dumped out of the liner as it was significant. But with everything dried out the fit felt good and off I went to complete the round trip.

It is rather impressive to see from the Charleston side where I will be running back to Mt. Pleasant; I always liked point to point courses because the distance, when seen on a map, gives a true sense of the distance covered. I like the feeling of accomplishment that instills in me.

On the way up to the first tower I had two or three people give me a runner's wave; I love that sense of comradery. I tend run with a good deal of concentration on my form, trying to keep an even gait. Yet I am, as always, aware of the feeling of the prosthesis, its weight and the compression on my residual limb. And I am aware of how I must look to other people, so I can understand them looking a bit longer at this tall, bearded, running man with a prosthesis.

As I descended back into Mt. Pleasant I could feel the stress on my legs and knew I would be sore the next day or two. The piriformis did not send any distress signals and I took it quite slow; once the wind took a hard swipe at me and I had to reach a hand out to the railing to steady myself. Those running gods are such kidders.

As I finished I felt ready to be done with a good dose of running fatigue to boot. I didn't feel any hotspots, always a good thing, and I did my stretching for good measure. I had hoped I had not overdone it, but if I had I knew I had pushed the current small envelope through a tight slot.


I did 3.25 miles easy in Thursday and could feel the stress from the bridge run, but nothing significant. The hardest part was getting off the couch and the first stiff strides of the run. I definitely didn't want to overdo the recovery, took it nice and slow and the distance was all I wanted to do.

On Friday, New Year's Day, I did my speedwork, still a little stiffness but about what I would expect, and no specific owies. I did 6 miles total with 8 x 200 in the middle to work on my form and generate some speed that all of my other base miles lack. It is difficult to work on being relaxed while (allegedly!) sprinting but with the prosthesis this is even more apparent. I started easy and my last 200 was 48s. I am very happy with this progress but it will take several more months to get them all down in the low 40s range.

I did 4 easy miles on Saturday in chilly and windy weather, and today, Sunday, I did 8 miles again. This gives me 34 miles for the week, same as the week before Christmas. I'll try to run around 37 - 38 miles next week which is going to be a cold one for us Southerners. I like these 40oF days, as I sweat less in the prosthesis and the cold, clear air is invigorating.

I added my race schedule on the sidebar of this blog. Yeah, I know it looks like a lot of races and it is, but they are generally at least 2 weeks apart. I am using the 5ks as tempo runs for now, so racing this often is not quite the same as racing at top fitness level. Also the more I do for now, the less I hope to feel so self-aware of my appearance although this is something I can't see ever being a non-issue. Truth is, it is self motivating on many levels and once the race starts and I turn inward then running is all there is...even if I feel it enhanced these days. I believe the trade gives me this one small privilege.


Here is to the New Year of life and running. As bad as 2009 was on the economic front, I will remember it kindly for what it gave back to me.

And I am going to run with it.


  1. Good start to the New Year. Good luck with your upcoming race. Looking forward to hearing about it.

  2. Thanks Suann. I am amazed at how much progress you have made this past I recall you started running about the time I had my operation.

    I'm confident this will be a good year to run!