Sunday, March 28, 2010

2010 Cooper River Bridge Run

 Cooper River Bridge Run 2010 (Post and Courier photo)

Friday morning at work I started noticing an odd feeling in the back of the roof of my mouth, usually the first sign of a sore throat. I knew with all the pollen flying about that it could be allergies, or allergies triggering a response that could lead to illness. I had been taking my allergy med since early in the week, so I thought I might be coming down with a cold.

By night things seemed to accelerate downhill. I could not sleep, wondering if I would be able to race on Saturday. No, I wouldn't have been horribly disappointed, but my training had been going well and I felt my fitness had improved a level. I was confident I would have a good race at the Cooper River Bridge Run (CRBR).

Due to lack of time, I did not blog about my first 10k in Summerville. I did meet my goal of sub-one hour at 59:00 official time, and learned I must use Drysol, at least for now, to prevent my liner from getting sloshy with sweat and potentially causing me to have to stop to dry things out. As for the race, the first mile was a little fast but not red-lined, second mile was more reasonable with every subsequent mile a little faster. I rarely ran so smart a race as an able-bodied athlete although I strove for negative splits.


My alarm went off at 5:30 am Saturday morning. Only getting a couple of hours of sleep, I sat up and took inventory of my situation. My throat was a little sore but not raw; at least it still seemed no worse. I was not running a temperature. Let me say right now I am glad it didn't get worse, for it was a good day to run.

For once, yes ONCE, Jennifer and I wore the exact same top on purpose, short sleeve Getting2Tri shirts to support that fine organization. I get up a little earlier on race day so I can put on my prosthesis and walk around so the residual volume can stabilize. Since I am in a suction-only socket, my prosthetic sock fit is very important. So far I prefer to have a slightly tighter fit so any loss will not cause problems later in the race. Elevated vacuum systems, from what I've read and been told by others, eliminate this fit problem but comes at the price of added weight. 


We arrive at the race and it is chilly, overcast, with some breeze coming up Coleman Blvd at our backs. Jennifer and I part for our respectively starting positions and have to wait about 30 minutes for the race to begin.

The race gets underway and it takes some time to cross the starting line, but once there we can break into at least a jog and soon a run. It is very congested but not nearly as bad when the race did not use corrals. Bolder Boulder (BB) still has a huge advantage here, where each corral is brought up to the starting line and sent off, avoiding nearly all of the logjams that the CRBR still suffers from. Also BB requires confirmation for the faster corrals, as I had to send them my Flowertown 10k time to get seeded. Although there were not as many walkers in the way, there were enough to be irritating. Since my right "brake" does not work as well as the left, I was using my hands to tap a shoulder or two so they knew I was back there slowing down.

I ran negative splits at this race too, and was very surprised at the relative ease that I climbed the bridge. On my way up the incline, my neighbor, Brian Gray, pulled up alongside of me. Brian had been training very hard but his knee has been revolting lately, so he's had to cut back these past few weeks. He's lost a lot of weight and made some huge strides in lowering his time, next year he'll likely go sub-50 with ease.

During the race I heard a number of comments, a few I recall (as best I can) were:

"We just got passed by a one-legged guy!"

"Did you see that...there is inspiration! Running on a prosthetic foot!"

I had a couple of shoulder taps and words of encouragement, and one woman told me how she used my shirt to pull her along at the end of the race. I thought I heard my name called out, but since I am not the only Richard on the planet, they may have been yelling at someone else. Richard II no doubt.

I want to say such comments, particularly the motivational ones, cause me to be inspired in turn. This side of my journey is/was not one I thought of much prior to my surgery. But now that I am often running as the only amputee in a sea of able-bodied athletes, I find it is a two-way street that benefits us all. 


Down where we come off the bridge ramp and make a left onto Meeting Street, we noticed a runner cutting the corner. I was pretty sure he was looking to catch up and run with some friends, but in a race this is not allowed. It is called cheating. You simply don't do it. If you must step off the course then you have to enter the race at the same spot. There needs to be some plastic fencing at this corner to prevent the shortcut. A number of fellow runners yelled at the guy, but he ran his abbreviated course, arms raised in the air like Rocky Balboa.

I ran comfortably through 5 miles and then felt the stress of the race creeping into my mind and body. This is the point we, as runners, make some decisions. This is when the same effort of the previous mile magically transforms into a slower time, one must increase the effort to keep the status quo, and you must realize the likelihood of dying, although the brain begs to differ, is small. Phidippides' should have trained smarter. 

Wearing my waist hydration pack, I always had my Gatorade, extra prosthetic socks, phone, and small towel at the ready. Having my drink at hand was very convenient so I didn't have to slow to grab water along the course.

As we ran down King Street the crowds were very loud and supportive. I couldn't hear much now as runner's distress was becoming my close friend. A left turn on Wentworth, past Jestine's Kitchen, and then we stampeded for our home a.k.a. the finishing line.

I did manage a bit of a kick and was aware I was under an hour on clock time, meaning I was well under my Flowertown 10k time. I had thought, with the bridge, that I would do well to run the same time or a little slower, but my chip time turned out to be 54:42. I think I was so surprised I actually uttered a "wow." My pace was faster than even my prior 5ks.

As runners we have good days and bad days, and as we age PRs become as rare as winning the lottery or hearing the dog recite the Gettysburg address. As an amputee runner, I get the chance to set all new PRs in every event, and watch my times improve drastically under my training, whereas as an able-bodied runner those new times had to be AG bests that were always slower than lifetime bests. I do hope to eventually catch and maybe surpass that able-bodied runner that was me in a few events, but age has loosened the reins on gravity so it will be an uphill battle.

That said, I love climbing these mountains.


Jennifer had an excellent race and met me back at the Pilot to do some light stretching and then we headed for home. Since it was rather cool and with this head cold (?), I didn't want to stand around and get chilled at the post race party at Marion Square.

I'll likely see the allergy doc to try to knock this inconvenience down on Monday. I had planned to run 40 miles next week for a new high, but depending on what I have I may need to delay that goal. I have a 5k I'd like to do in two weeks, but if I am not ready I have another one planned for later in the month.

Quick note: I applied Drysol to most of the right leg from the thigh all the way to the distal end of my residual on Monday and then Thursday nights. For some reason the Thursday application seemed more severe than Monday, but the result was a dry leg for the entire race with no loss of suction or having the sleeve and liner slide down and bunch up on my socket. And no squishy sound effects either. I can embarrass myself quite nicely without a soundtrack, thank you very much.


IF I get my running prosthetic foot in time, I may be going to this run clinic that my friend Ashley Kurpiel told me about here. I won't go if I still don't have my running blade, as I don't see the point in spending any more time on this current foot as I know how to run on it. The running blade requires I make some changes for optimal use, and that is my next goal.

One way or another, I will have a real running foot by the end of April. There is a reason I am waiting and trying to be patient, which will be revealed in time.

Good things come to those who wait. Or so I've been told. = :-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Here Be Eagles

On Wednesday, March 17, 2010, Jennifer and I woke up and went for our respective runs. Afterward we packed up the Pilot and drive the 5 plus hours to Atlanta for the 2010 Getting2Tri National ParaTriathlon Training Camp at the Georgia Tech campus. We would leave on Saturday, March 20, and whereas I cannot speak for Jennifer, I think she would agree our lives were changed forever by the people we had the intense honor to share these few days with.

Now I will turn the miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day.

- Pi, from "The Life of Pi" (Yann Martel)


We arrived at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention Center just in time for rush hour, certainly an event not to be missed if only to pooh-pooh one's own local traffic conundrums. We registered for our room and found the Getting2Tri sign-in tables down the hall. Immediately we found our friend Ashley Kurpiel, what a great way to kick off the weekend. In short order we trotted down to the "Meet and Greet" room where after retrieving our adult beverages, we met my CP Larry Wiley and his lovely wife Annette. Larry was talking to camper and fellow BTK (below the knee) amputee Steven Bible. We all chatted shop for a bit and then settled into our dinner while hearing Mike Lenhart's opening comments.

We had briefly talked to Mike at check-in, while meeting his parents and a number of other campers and volunteers. I knew Mike would be busy this weekend, yet he was always calm and cool under the fire of multitasking events, volunteers, athletes, and the unknown glitches none of us saw. A man of integrity and an intense devotion to his foundation, Mike is the heart and soul of this organization. It is obvious he loves his work and is surrounded by equally caring people. As a coincidental (or not) footnote, while I was nosing around for some background info for my camp blog post, I noticed Mike's birthday - April 14 - is the same as my amputation anniversary. On my birthday - March 5 - my friend Jeff Nolan went through his foot amputation; I hope to see him at camp next year.

I had come to camp as a technical advisor on the running coaching staff and Jennifer as a volunteer handler whose athlete, "AJ," was something of a legend there. Speaking of the athletes, we did not have time to meet them all, and each one had a unique story of courage and perseverance. Not once did I hear anything remotely corresponding to "woe is me." Far from it, I saw bright, smiling faces, full of laughter and hope and achievement. My god, here be eagles. To think I might have missed this would have been the only woeful moment I could conceive.

Depending on the athlete's disability, they could choose different training sessions, like wheelchair racing or a swim clinic. Although I attended some other sessions when running was not in progress, my focus was on running and helping athletes as I could. Through a scheduling mix-up, I was listed as both an athlete handler with Larry Wiley and on the coaching staff. I thoroughly enjoyed doing both, indeed, it was an embarrassment of riches.

 Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center (CRC) and athletic field

Swimming and other indoor sessions were done at the huge 1996 Olympic Atlanta swimming facility that is now used exclusively by Georgia Tech. It not only houses the pool but every conceivable workout room including a 6.7 lap/mile indoor running track. Oh my. Be still my heart.

The Thursday morning run session was headed up by Mike Jenks, Tom Martin, and Coach Will Dillard with Jason Gunter, Kelly Luckett, and moi on the technical staff. A bit of informal lecture was conveyed to the athletes while also throwing in warm-up drills such as the "superman" and "reverse superman" that indicated most of us need more core strengthening work. The athletes, depending on their disability, were shown some running basics. Seeing someone take those first tentative jogging steps brought on a round of applause and a chill up the spine if not a lump in the throat.

Later that day I got to speak to Kelly Luckett, whose original motto is: "if I can't run fast, I'll run far." At last count, as an amputee, she has run 20 marathons and 3 ultramarathons, all this on a modified Cheetah sprint prosthesis used in the Paralympics some years ago. A genuinely warm and caring person, she gave me some tips on distance running and how much she enjoyed hanging with Amy Palmiero-Winters at the Arkansas marathon this year. Kelly, like many amputee athletes, gives motivational speeches and I hope to hear her story someday.


On Friday morning - a picture perfect day - we started with a couple of easy warm-up laps on the AstroTurf field outside the CRC. I ran with Jason Gunter briefly and we talked about running feet and stride mechanics. Jason has a Flex-Run foot and I am still not in a running-specific foot so our techniques are different. Turnover rate is still the key, so a shorter stride with a high rate is usually preferred over a longer stride with a slower rate. Most world class able-bodied athletes run around 180 foot strikes a minute; whether they are running fast or slow they simply change their stride length while maintaining this high cadence.

I worked a great deal with Jennifer, Larry, and athlete Doug Bolton, who wore AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis). Doug is an excellent swimmer and loves to bike and has a great deal of focus, determination, and pure grit. He plans to do a full Ironman in 3 years, so he has set a realistic schedule for it, as Scott Rigsby would say, an UnThinkable goal. He has started a long journey up a steep mountain. He will see us from that lofty peak in 3 years hence. I can't help but imagine him crossing that finish line and feeling the crush of emotion and empowerment. I hope we are there to see him on that summit.

We did a number of drills and I went for a short run with Doug. The athletic field is about 1/3 mile around and we did two laps. Doug's AFOs are not very comfortable but he persevered. We later examined his shoes and found he had some for heavy motion control; since like me he is actually an underpronator/true supinator foot strike, these shoes were the worst possible type for him.

I am amazed at how many running stores - even those manned by experienced runners - will sell the wrong shoes to a runner. Unfortunately some are more interested in selling what they have in stock as opposed to what the athlete actually needs. I do not purchase from two local stores for this very reason; the other store fit me perfectly. I should add it is the person doing the fitting whom I trust, like a good sports doctor, you need to find one you can stick with.

After the morning run clinic finished up the athletes headed to the pool, I decided it would be a good opportunity to get my 6 mile run in at this very convenient location. I had planned a 2 mile w/u with 2 x 2 miles at a little faster than tempo pace. The field was quite soft compared to even a Mondo track, maybe a little too cushy in some spots but very easy on the legs. After my 2 mile warm-up, I dried the liner out and started my first 2 mile interval.

I felt extremely good...and happy. I was thinking how fortunate I was to meet these heroes, how I never heard a complaint and only saw smiling faces heard supportive words between us. It came to mind...what if I could have my foot back, a granted wish that would have cost me this experience.

No, it is a deal I would not take. I would be ever so poorer for the exchange.

I ran on with eyes hot, a throat constricted, under a clear blue Georgia sky. I felt more connected to my life than ever. And oh so happy.

I circled the field.

Round and round.



My face is set to a grim and determined expression. I speak in all modesty as I say this, but I discovered at that moment that I have a fierce will to live. It's not something evident, in my experience. Some of us give up on life with only a resigned sigh. Others fight a little, then lose hope. Still others - and I am one of those - never give up. We fight and we fight and we fight. We fight no matter what the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight until the very end. It's not a question of courage. It's something constitutional, an inability to let go.

- Pi, from "The Life of Pi" (Yann Martel)

(Side note: As I ran around the field I noticed a marker for the "Pi Mile Running Trail." My life at times seem to be so many random coincidences as to be part of a dismembered puzzle drawing itself together.)


I had to attend to a sore spot on my residual just below the kneecap, then headed to the pool to observe the swimming. Jennifer's athlete "AJ" was co-handled by Mike Lenhart's sister-in-law, Molly Lenhart. We talked to Molly a number of times; she is fully engaged in helping Getting2Tri's mission to help the disabled athlete. We really enjoyed her company and the ideas she had to keep the organization moving forward. This being only the third year for the camp, I would have guessed they would have been at this much longer. Mike is open to suggestions, even from a rookie with space cadet credentials (me), and I believe would cut off one of his limbs if it helped improve things for his athletes. 

I love watching swimming, knowing how strenuous the sport is while, when done with correct form, appears to be effortless and gliding and...not unlike what I feel when I am having a prefect run. AJ is a bilateral amputee, who finally had her remaining foot amputated knowing further surgeries would serve no purpose whatsoever. A dynamo of optimism, her enthusiasm is contagious to know AJ is to be carried along on a tidal wave of friendship. If AJ is anywhere closer to your radius of hearing, you'll want to lean in and see what the fuss is about!


The camp banquet was held at the Palomar Hotel and was well attended. The guest speaker, Matt Stinchcomb, was from a minor sport, football. Okay, American football is a Big Deal to some folks and Matt was an excellent speaker, elevating his sport in this runner's opinion. I had no idea football players possessed a quick wit, much less be able to spell it.

The 2010 Athletes of the Year were Deanna Babcock and Shaun Daily. I was around Deanna some at the pool but didn't get to know Shaun this visit. The G2T gang gave a well-deserved - and entertaining - award to the employee of the year, Mike Lenhart. I think Mike was a little embarrassed about this spotlight, but I know every single one of us attending this event were grateful Mike was so honored.


We finally caught up with Ironman Scott Rigsby on Saturday before the Finish Line Luncheon, the final event of this all-too-brief gathering. If you have been reading my blog you know a bit about Scott. I have an idea in the upcoming years you will know him in a different...light. Suffice it to say, it was another in a long line of highlights for this camp. Larry purchased - or promised to send Scott a check! - several copies of Scott's book "UnThinkable" to give to patients.

The luncheon itself was a perfect ending to the camp. The speaker was Mike Wien, a 5th place podium finisher at Kona after overcoming a childhood baseball career as a right fielder. (I should note as a pre-glasses wearing youth baseball player I hit a triple to the right fielder after guessing to swing at a pitch I could not see. I played left field because I could run after the balls I could not see hit to me.)

While at the luncheon, and without warning, my feelings became very raw. Jennifer and I will admit that socializing tends to wear us out, but not with this magnificent group of athletic eagles. To think a portion of the bald eagle's scientific name signifies a sea "halo" eagle is significant and perfectly suited to my friends, athletes, coaches, volunteers, and families who support our passion.

Before we left I was able to screw up my courage and constitution to give Ashley Kurpiel something I had been carrying around in my backpack nearly all weekend. This was my 2nd place AG award at fourth race, a 5k in North Charleston, a glass trophy. I told Ashley she was my hero, and she is all that embodies courage in the face of a relentless adversary. This race will have an associated marathon on January 15, 2011 and it will be my first amputee marathon. Ashley, I hope you can come see me run it.

 Jennifer had not read "The Life of Pi" so she downloaded the book and we listened to it on the drive to Atlanta and the trip home. Just outside of the city the words I have chosen to define this blog were spoken: "Now I will turn the miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day." I turned my head, eyes wet, such an overwhelming feeling of amazement of this life, these lives.

We saw the amazing every day. I saw Rajesh Durbal come into the hotel before breakfast, having made sure he did his workout before the camp's day activities began. I saw what my dad would call "a million dollar smile" belonging to Kelly Casebere as she learned to ride a bike. I saw the promise in Steven Bible's eyes that he would run whether on dirt roads or fields of fire. I heard John Kuznarik announce his goal to walk the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.

There were other stories I did not hear...that is what next year is for. I have already been thinking about coming back as an athlete; but in whatever capacity I can help, I will be there to do it.

To be among these magnificent individuals was an honor like no other I have had in my life. Thank you athletes, volunteers, coaches, and for Mike persuading me to attend this camp. Here be eagles, eagles all.

And thank you Jennifer, for being there with me. Be it the high road or low, we go there together.

For in the end it is the love of each other that is all there is. 


At moments of wonder, it is easy to avoid small thinking, to entertain thoughts that span the universe, that capture both thunder and tinkle, thick and thin, the near and the far.

- Pi, from "The Life of Pi" (Yann Martel)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 G2T National ParaTriathlon Training Camp

Jennifer and I are honored to be a part of the G2T National ParaTriathlon Training Camp this year.

I came across the Getting2Tri Foundation some time ago, probably early in 2009. Make no mistake, I am not a triathlete, Jennifer is. I starting following Mike Lenhart (@G2Tprez) on Twitter and was captivated by his reporting on Jason Gunter's Ironman experience. Mike asked me to come to the camp as an athlete, and this placed me in a real quandary. I have given some consideration to doing tris, but I am, as you likely know by now, a runner first and foremost and sometimes last.

However, having the opportunity to meet these amazing athletes was very tempting, so I was in a pickle of a dilemma. I finally decided, no, I need to focus on my running. Riding my bike has so far irritated the distal end of my residual limb and I don't want to be sidelined by an avoidable injury.

Mike Lenhart (left), founder of G2T and Ironman Scott Rigsby

I relayed this to Mike and he immediately shot back a request that I come and serve as a technical adviser on the running staff. Well that was a game changer, and the answer was an unqualified YES.

This Wednesday we pack up the Pilot and head to Atlanta. I haven't been there in many years aside of passing through the airport. At the camp we will get to meet some of the most inspiring people this planet has to offer, including Scott Rigsby, Jason Gunter, Mike Lenhart, Tom Martin, Kelly Luckett, and someone who defines, who is the word "courage," my friend and superstar Ashley Kurpiel. And there will be others I have yet come to know, but that loss will be short-lived.

Again and again I am reminded how lucky I am. I lost a foot and gained a entirely new life.

To quote The Who, "I'd call that a bargain, the best I ever had."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tres Hombres

On Saturday, I visited with a young man who had his amputation on Friday, same day as my birthday. Jennifer and I met with him and his wife along with their infant a few months ago, and I gave him a copy of Scott Rigsby's book "UnThinkable" along with the article about Dr. Tom White in Runner's World.

I had not heard any feedback until Scott and I were talking about the Nitro foot he sent me. He told me this man's wife had sent him a letter saying the book 'had changed her husband's life.' This really touched me, and I wondered if Scott fully realized what his book had done. His journey helped give another the courage to do what he knew needed to be done, and to know the amputation would not only remove a painful limb but more importantly, remove the limitations on his life. To take someone who has been through 16 foot surgeries, and been in such discomfort at night that he slept on the couch apart from his wife so he could be distracted from the constant drumming of the pain by the television, and to show him the path to a new life, well, it is nothing short of miraculous.

Even so, with surgery there always comes the risk of complications, that even under the best circumstances things can and do go horribly wrong. In life we often lose sight that there are no guarantees; artificial ones simply demean us all. Many great things have happened because humans set fear of the unknown aside, from discovering new continents to new worlds to heights and depths only dreamed of.

It is odd in the chaos that is daily life that sometimes things come together as if not by chance but design. Scott Rigsby wrote a book that I gave to another man who in turn had his life changed...on my birthday. Words are not living by example, only actions make that real. So I take words for what they are, but living those words are what I believe in, and I trust those who live without fear.

"The way to do is to be."
- Lao Tzu

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Test Pilot

I ran a temperature all weekend and didn't run again after the treadmill trot on Friday evening. Between losing our pet and having this bug, it evaporated the child-like Christmas excitement of trying the new blade. By Monday morning it had returned somewhat, and I was becoming mildly nervous about my anticipated noon run with it.

Once I was dressed in my running togs I swapped out the legs and did a few jog steps across the kitchen to acclimate myself to the different feel of the foot. Whereas my everyday foot allows me to walk heel-to-toe, the running blade has no "heel" and mimics a forefoot running style. It has a considerably different feel than my everyday Renegade foot.

It is worth mentioning again that when I am standing, the uncompressed blade makes my right leg taller than my left, giving me a tilt. When running it compresses and makes this a non-issue. I did a few stretches and also found that was slightly more challenging...not only for the lopsidedness but the blade's contact surface with the ground is less, making standing and walking less stable. I had a few wobbles as I did my piriformis routines but managed to remain upright.

Okay...calm down nerves...out into the street, start the watch and off I go. The blade sound is much louder than my shoe, it has a hard rubber pad to protect the carbon fiber and makes a sort of TOCK! noise. After about 300m I definitely notice it seems to be stiffer than it was at the CP office, taking more energy to run with it than the heavier everyday foot. I was expecting to be able to load it (compress it down) even more than I was able to manage at Floyd Brace but that was not happening.

As I ran I came to the conclusion, based on looking at the design, that the blade progressively loads. It is thinner on the bottom where it strikes the ground and quite thick at the top where it attaches to the socket. I can compress it to a point with my 160 lbs but no further; if I was heavier I could compress it more and that would give me the full benefit of the energy return. Indeed, I do need to try the proper weight category foot to properly evaluation this foot.

Top of blade with hard rubber sole, approx 1/2" thick

Bottom of blade with hard rubber sole, approx 1/16" thick

It could have been that I was recovering from the weekend crud, but it felt like this category 6 blade took more energy to run in than my everyday foot. I was really concentrating on my form and trying to get it fully loaded, but it all took too much effort not to gain any notion of speed. It also felt very hard on my distal end, so much so that I was beginning to feel sore at the end of my run and glad I had only planned to go 3 miles.

This was a day I had hoped would be, well, one of those very good days, so it was tough not to be a little disappointed. I did anticipate it not totally working out because of my reservations about the category 6 foot, and I was extremely appreciative of my friend Scott Rigsby letting us try this foot to see if the clearance issue was going to be a problem.

I should point out that the Flex-Run and Nitro style feet were the type I had all along felt would be the one for me. To avoid confusion, here is a short history of my running prosthesis saga:
  • Early February: Larry, my CP, decides it is time to get a running foot. He contacts the major manufacturers to see if they can help us with a scholarship or cost reduction. Initial foot may be a "junior foot" to make sure I have clearance. I object to this type foot as it does not have the energy return of a full size foot. A junior foot is a smaller version of a full size foot and usually intended for kids or very lightweight people.
  • Mid February: I see an ad for the Otto Bock C-Sprint that a marathoner is running in here. I send this info to Larry and he arranges to get me one but is mistakenly sent a Sprinter foot instead
  • Late February/early March: Scott Rigsby sends me a category 6 Nitro foot. I believe it will be too stiff but it does allow us to check for clearance. Yes, it is too stiff and yes, it will work as there is no clearance issue. Scott has a category 5 foot he will send me to try.
We're still waiting for the C-Sprint foot. In the back of my mind I can't help but think had we just ordered a category 4 Flex-Run or Nitro foot, I'd be out running in my carbon fiber socket with it this very day. But here is what this bit of adversity is offering/teaching me:
  • I will know what running in a too-stiff foot feels and sounds like.
  • I will have the opportunity to run in the two main styles of running feet, sprint and distance. Brian Frasure told me some people prefer the Cheetah (the C-Sprint is similar in design) style foot for distance running.
  • I may end up with two feet, one for sprinting and one for distance.
Patience is something I've had to learn over the years. I can recall one of my elementary school teachers writing some nice things on my report card but adding "Richard can sometimes be impatient with his classmates." Years later at my job a coworker told me I was "the most patient person" he knew. I can't say I have zen-like patience, but I do work on it and know many good things come to those who wait.

So I wait.

I did hear from Larry today, he is trying to get Freedom Innovations to let us try an evaluation foot, but since these are custom fabricated they typically don't have any lying around for this purpose. So my option may be I have to buy one to try it, no return possible. Whereas I can understand the prosthetic company's position, I would think having at least one evaluation foot would be good business, even if folks had to get on a waiting list to try it out.

So I will definitely be trying the Otto Bock C-Sprint foot whenever it arrives, and if the category 5 Nitro Scott Risgby sends me holds promise, we will have to see what can be done to obtain a category 4.

The waiting continues.