Sunday, October 31, 2010

18 Down, 8.2 To Go

Yay! I made my 18 miler today. Sure it was very  v  e  r  y   s  l  o  w  but my socket did not stop me from completing my appointed rounds. It was a little warmer than I would have preferred, in the upper 70s, but I had a nice breeze now and then and never overheated.

Resting at mile 10

I had to stop several times to hit the reset button the final 8 miles. At my last rest stop, one of my nurses from Roper happens to be running by and we have a quick cool! I knew I would finish after that exchange, and finish I did. It had been exactly one month since my 17 miler and now I should be able to squeeze in four 20 milers to be minimally prepared for my marathon on January 15.

A 10k race next week...I will take it easier before my next big push, a 20 miler the following week.

What a Difference a (Few) Second(s) Make(s)

The view...when you have finished the race
After my disappointing performance at the Dirt Dash half marathon, regardless of the why, I was hoping to run what I knew I was capable of, although my confidence had taken a hit. Confidence, for me, is the final piece of any race puzzle; if you have it on raceday you are rarely disappointed even if other factors like heat and wind conspire to slow your steps.

As Jennifer and I lined up for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Half Marathon, I knew I was behind in my training, but felt I had put in enough work except for the long runs that my socket issues had sabotaged. This 13.1 mile race would test my mettle and the prosthesis; another disaster would mean some serious rethinking of my goals.


We had dinner at Pane E Vino, a place I looked up on Google that was close by. As usual, you can read a wide range of reviews, but given its proximity and menu we thought we take a chance there. After a short detour (getting lost via GPS), we found our destination. We were greeted by our server who looked like a super-sized version (taller) of a friend of ours. Both Jennifer and I tried the homemade spaghetti; homemade pastas are an art and can be rather disgusting if made without skill and love. My dad told me many years ago something he learned in Italy - try an unfamiliar restaurant's spaghetti first, because if they can't make it good then there is little hope for their more expensive dishes.

It was quite delicious and we were also treated to an accordion player's music. Very nice, very pleasant and relaxing, just the thing for a prerace dinner.


There were to be at least two wheelchair racers whom I wanted to meet at the race start and wish good luck, but was unable to see them. The runners were treated to a sword fighting display by characters from Medieval Times, a sponsor of this race and the location of the starting line. Not exactly my cup of tea, but the actors seemed quite adept in their skills. With the show over and the National Anthem played, we were down to business.

It was a little chilly so I was wearing a throw away shirt (ugly race tee) as was Jennifer. Off they go as we get ready to race...and...wait. Ten minutes. Finally the race officials get it together and we shuffle toward the starting line, close to 3000 runners squeeze down the narrow road with the usual fits and starts as everyone tries to get into their pace and out-of-place first timers find they are human speed bumps.

The first mile will be the slowest due to the congestion. Near the beginning of mile two I see a wheelchair athlete on the other side of the road, and I work my way over to say a few words. He is not in a racing chair and will have a long day ahead of him. Courage on wheels.

Although basically a very flat course, we run an overpass toward the end of mile 2. I am a little surprised that I run it under pace, and try to reel in my enthusiasm because I know what feels easy now will not be the same later.

Mile after mile slips by. I hear the sounds of the footsteps, bits of short conversations, and I'm grateful for kind words other runners give me. I overhear two guys discussing their music playlists; one is listening to Buffett and I can't quite make out what the other fellow is listening to. In my head I hear: what are you listening to? 


I am generally following the 9 minute pace group, but they took off after the slower first mile and I choose not to make up time in big chunks. Around the 10k mark I catch them as we make our way for the final miles. A woman strikes up a conversation with me, she says this is her first half marathon and says I look like I have been a runner for a long time...guess the RaceReady shorts are a dead giveaway. She is dressed in black tights and a long sleeve top and I want to ask her if she isn't hot in the garb, but in an amazing moment of self-restraint decide not to, because if she is uncomfortable this will likely make her feel worse.

Down the road and I am concentrating on holding form and pace. If you are a runner, no doubt others have asked you what you think about while you are out there huffing and puffing. For 10ks and under, I am usually under enough stress that few extraneous thoughts receive much attention. Even for the longer distances where the physical stress is less in the early miles, I carry on few conversations with myself. I did have a short one today.

I'm running along, thinking I am having a much better run, one that I felt I was capable of but not sure if my scaled back training due to socket issues would allow me to enjoy. My lack of long runs concerned me and I felt that would likely catch up to me in the last miles. For a few steps I think about the runner I once was, someone who would be at least a minute or more faster than this amputee. Well, he is gone, and this is who I am. Then I hear, no, I am not gone, I am right here running with you.

Well now.

Shortly after mile 10 we turn and run parallel to the ocean on North Ocean Blvd. I know we run for about 2 miles before the last turn and finish, only I did not know most of the last mile would be on a concrete walkway and then the boardwalk itself. I can feel myself slowing and feel the tug of Mr. Walker asking me to join him. No no no keep moving forward, don't you stop. My hip flexor joins the Chorus of the Disgruntled. I sling it out in front, relax it as best I can, and keep moving. Keep moving forward. I hear voices from the high-rise hotels, see people on the sidewalk, but cannot make out conversations as I concentrate on inching toward the finish line.

Boardwalk finish line
We make the last turns and hit the winding concrete walk. There are several runners around me so it is not possible to cut the tangents, and we weave to and fro like drunken sailors. In the distance I try to find the first sight of the beloved finish line banner, but it is long in coming. Dang this dog is tired!

Finally I see home sweet finish line while we hit the wooden boardwalk. I pick up the pace slightly and see the clock ticking just over 2 hours. I raise my arms - no looking down to stop my watch - and cross the line.
By the time I turn off my watch I am unsure I have hit my goal, a sub 2 hour half. In fact I think I have narrowly missed it, but know I ran a hard race and am proud of my effort and need to be satisfied with that fact. 

Finally the official results are posted:

Oh yeah! Sub 2 baby!

Finisher's medal / fridge magnet / bottle opener
Jennifer has a good race on what I'm sure she would consider minimal training. I am happy on several levels plus my adjusted test socket caused no problems. It will have one more long run test before I can give it a passing grade.

We meet up with Anna Gray from Floyd Brace, along with her sister and parents. We chat a bit and she gets a couple of pics, then Jen and I totter off to the awards area to hang out and finally catch the bus back to the starting line area.


My marathon is back on track, not the faster one I had hoped for but still one I can live with. I've had to adjust my expected finish time upward; I still hope to be able to finish running and not in the death march I have known in previous races. That is not a pleasant experience, and I am anxious not to endure it needlessly.

With two months of training to go and then the taper, I should be able to get in four 20 mile long runs. They won't be as fast as I need to run them, rather, I will be mainly getting the miles in. Best scenario will then be a nice cool raceday and a body that decides to have a good day to run.

I have been thinking the marathon will be the end of this first book by this amputee runner. The last page closed before another can be opened. I am looking forward to all that is to come; I have many miles to go.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

I have this video on VHS tape from a long time ago. For some reason - or none at all - I was thinking about this story today. I was looking to buy it on DVD when I came across this site that has the entire animation on the lower left part of the page here. The story can be read here.

The last time I watched some of it was before Christmas 2008 with the family. I knew what I was planning to do, what I had to do, but it was not scheduled yet. I left the room because I knew what was to come.

No, I am no hero, never will be. Those souls are on the USS Arizona. At Ground Zero. In many lonely and lost and never visited places around this planet. But I can say I understand as I never could, and think perhaps this video can help you understand too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Slice and Dice

My test running socket finally did me in on Sunday. I had a 14 mile run planned with a set of long intervals split with 6 miles easy and then another 2 threshold mile. My intention was to do most of the first half of the workout at the track and then finishing on the road.

After first going to the Mondo town track at Park West and finding "Children's Day" was taking place, I headed over to the old town track at the municipal complex where I have logged many miles and intervals in the past. There was an Ultimate Frisbee came going in the infield but no where near the distraction of a hundred school kids like at the other track during the weekdays.

To protect the skin on the back of my knee from further damage, I had applied two large band-aids above and below the crease in the knee. The one below was to protect the area where the text socket was intent on skinning me, and above where I think I had some pinching of the liner causing a hotspot.

As soon as I started my warm-up jog I felt pinching of the band-aids. After much monkeying I took them both off, regretting I did not have any additional Aquaphor with me. I spread around some of the excess lubricant on the problem spots and resumed my workout.

It was a little warm but not the horrors of summer. Although I knew I was taking a chance on this workout causing more skin problems, I decided I had to do it because I am so far behind in my training. I had to go in next week to get the socket adjusted anyway and I needed a quality workout; the easy days will have to wait.

The workout went quite well but I was afraid of what my knee might look like since I felt some burning, so I waited until I got home to inspect it. It was nasty, the skin had sloughed off revealing the raw layer beneath. Done and done in.

Scott Rigsby sent me a link to an ointment to try which has great lubrication and a strong antibiotic. Oh, and it is for animals.

I am an animal!
I hope to do my midweek speedwork and then take it easy until the half marathon on Sunday. With the adjusted socket the owie should be out of harm's way at the trim line. As long as I can keep it protected it should be healed by then or close to it....seems to take my skin about 10 days to recover from such breeches without assistance from the vet.

Where do we go from here? Only time will tell. 13.1 miles of it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Down to the Wire

This past weekend Jennifer did the Take Flight sprint triathlon in Huntersville, NC, along with several Getting2Tri Athletes, including Deanna Babcock, Janie Wiltshire, and Mike Lenhart, who is the founder of president of the extraordinary organization. Cadie Jessup was temporarily sidelined but acted as a handler and enthusiastic supporter of the other athletes. Also friends and families participated with these athletes, making for a sizeable G2T contingent.

Jennifer out of transition and onto the run!

As you may know by now, I am not a triathlete, I am a simple man who simply runs. I like to swim on an annual basis and bike a little more often, though not so much without a bike leg. Jennifer has done all the distances up to the half IM, so she is the TriStar in our household. "Swims Like Fish" is my nickname for her because she is lovely to watch in the water, almost hard to believe a human can be so graceful in that element. Jennifer finished 2nd in her AG at this race and I was very proud to be on her team!


The afternoon before her tri I ran 4 miles on the treadmill in the small hotel workout room. I have learned to check my residual limb often for the start of any problems, and noticed that evening that I had a nasty spot behind my knee, undoubtedly caused by the test socket as it is higher there and not as rounded at the trim line. I really hadn't noticed any problem while running which was unusual. The affected skin area was like a blister, only, and there is no nice way to say this, leaking pus. Ugh. I cleaned it up and put a large band-aid over it, hoping to protect the skin from further irritation.

I had hoped to do my long run when we returned home after the tri, but it was too late. I had had a bad headache so along with the skin concern and listening to my body, I decided to put it off. On Tuesday I ran 13 miles and on Friday I did 9 miles with 4 x 1.5 miles at threshold pace. This Sunday I will do 14 miles that includes 4 x 1200 and 2 finishing miles, both at threshold pace. If I can protect my behind-the-knee skin for this run I should have my first 50 mile week in the amputee running book.


Kids on track from a previous workout

I am still having issues at the track related to the adjacent school being allowed to use it as a recreational facility. At the end of my workout on Friday a rock was thrown at me. I have a call into the recreation director to discuss this again...the teachers make it clear to the kids to stay out of the runners way, yet they still walk in front of me getting to the infield and being distracted by horseplay. I believe I should be allowed to use the track as a track, this is a million dollar facility that always takes a backseat to other needs than what it is. Sad.

This is the rock that was thrown at me

The reason this post is entitled "Down to the Wire" is that I have 10 weeks of marathon training and then the 2 week taper. Since I am behind in my training and not certain if the problem with the socket is solved, I am in a zone of uncertainty. My intent was not just to finish this marathon, but to run it at the best of my current ability. Realistically, just finishing is now the minimal goal. My training is going well except for the lack of long runs, but that is one large exception.

I will get there from here, albeit a little slower. Jato is twitching to run free.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lost and Found: My 1997 Chicago Marathon Race Report

This is a race report originally posted on the Runner's World section on Compuserve after I ran the Chicago Marathon in 1997. I am leaving it as-is, no editing. Here is a link to the 1997 race results.

Some of this would be cryptic without explanation, so here is the background info:
  • "S9" refers to "Section 9" where it was located in the "Health and Fitness" forum.
  • Saint Sandy and SPG refer to friends Sandy and Steve Guba
  • "OO" refers to the Omnipotent One, a.k.a. my wife Jennifer
  • Mariana (Schaffer) is a friend of ours
  • Zocorians refers to the drug Zocor that a good friend used - Frank Purdy. The Zocorians watched over Frank in training, dispensing pranks at opportune times. It is a little known fact the Elvis left the building in the company of the Zocorians.

******* 1997 Chicago Marathon Race Report *******

The conditions were perfect for the S9 convergence on the city of Chicago.

A pre-race pasta party catered by Saint Sandy with an assist from her sidekick SPG.

GORGEOUS raceday conditions. I guess the OO has a weak spot for us mortals. :-)

Great company, great food, a great race. It could only have been better with YOU there.

I lined up just behind the 3:20 RW pacing group, thinking that if I could keep them in sight then a Boston qualifier would be assured. The S9 angel -- Mariana -- furnished me with the pace group information. They were planning to go through the first miles a bit slower and then pick up the pace, so given the crowd at the start I thought this was a good plan.

Despite the immense mass of humanity, the start was clean and I lost minimal time to crossing the line. Still, this isn't really fair to slower runners when wave starts and shoe chips can minimize time handicaps to everyone. I passed through the first mile in 8:45, much slower than 7:49 goal pace.

In hindsight now, perhaps my critical error happened when I didn't pick up another split until mile 4, and then didn't realize I was running just fine -- 7:45 pace -- and thought I should pick it up to make up for lost time. My strategy then became to run closer to 80% or slightly more up to mile 15, slow to PMP, then pick it up again at mile 20 if possible or just hold on.

You know what they say about the best laid plans....

I was running very comfortably, some slight tightness in my calves but they didn't appear to be getting any worse. I took in water and gatorade at most aid stations, and at 9, 14, and 20 I took Relode and water. The crowds and volunteers were terrific.

A special honor also goes to Marian Enwright, S9 cheerleader extraordinaire. She knows exactly where to go to be seen, and everybody hears her. She received several gracious compliments from runners behind me, commenting on her enthusiasm and vocal range. Thank you Marian, I owe you a cOOkie!

In the late teens I started to feel a little twitch in both of my hamstrings at different times. I briefly considered stopping to stretch them but they didn't appear to be getting worse. With that Boston qualifier in my pocket I didn't want to stop so I compromised with myself and slowed down knowing I had time in the bank now.

Around mile 20 the hamstrings staged their revolt. They would cramp enough to slow me down and then ease up for their next assault. I finally stopped and stretched but every time I started getting up to speed they would riot again. Each time a bit more prolonged and sharper. Yes, Ann Trason came to mind and all I can say is she's a running goddess.

I could feel the qualifier slipping away. The outside of my right foot told me Mr. Blister was making an emergency house call. Oh boy, we're having fun now.

I closed my eyes and ran thinking I could push through the discomfort and still make the qualifier if only the leg would ease up. Except for the hamstrings I felt strong, my breathing was not labored, HR fine, but time was running out and I could run no faster, only slower and slower now after every hamstring attack.

The thing is, as much as I wanted to run Boston, I knew I still had a good time going if only I could make it to the finish line. Just after mile 25 a bad cramp forced me to a complete stop...almost a replay of Kiawah in 1991. I was bent over trying to move to the outside to get out of the way. Someone patted me on the back, knowing my predicament I'm sure.

Runners. Best people on the face of the earth.

I made it to the side and  a policeman asked “How ya doin' chief? Need a ride?"

"Oh, no, just cramps, I'll be okay...."

It was gone now. There would be no qualifier today. So I moved toward the finish, slower but not giving into time, and found warmth in a space blanket that the kind Zocorians blessed us with.

Moments later in a crowd of thousands Jennifer somehow found me. We traded race notes and she helped me back to the hotel. Yes, I was already talking about my next marathon.

Life, my friends, is good.

Savor it.


P.S. About 2 weeks after this marathon I noticed my right ankle had swollen like I had badly twisted it. That was the first real sign that something was amiss with my right foot. In looking back, and other than my initial accident, that was the beginning of this blog's journey.

Monday, October 4, 2010

17 with Terry

Yesterday I decided to go out for my long run and take it as far as possible. Given my socket issues and the anxiety that is starting to mount that I am getting in a deep hole with my marathon training, I figured I would take whatever distance I could manage. 10 miles was about all I expected I could do.

My prosthesis now feels better since the last adjustment, it is not until I run somewhere north of 8 miles that I starting feeling the intense compression/wanting to explode sensation in my lower residual limb. I donned my blade and hit the treadmill for 2 warm-up miles, which gives me the opportunity to stop and make adjustments before I leave the house for the open roads.

As I filled my CamelBak and got ready to go, the name "Terry Fox" went off in my brain. I knew about Terry from many years ago, having seen a movie about his journey in the early 80s; I think I have it recorded on tape somewhere. But this last special on ESPN "Into the Wind" revived his story, as did my friend Myron with a link to this page on Twitter.

I would like to expound on why this story went so deep for me, but that is for a much later day. Again I am reminded, though, of how I could have never understood what Terry endured had I not shared this amputation with him. Knowing how almost medieval prostheses still were when he ran makes his effort even more...magnificent.

As I head out the door I say these words: Let's go, Terry.

You see, I knew whatever discomfort I have been feeling was not in the same time zone as Terry's. I knew what was possible because of what he did was nearly impossible. Day after day he drove forward, eye on the prize that will be the death of cancer itself.


I decided I would run much slower, taking as much pressure off my right leg as possible, to delay the discomfort that had stopped me in my tracks for all of my recent long runs. My first mile was still a little fast, fast being a relative word, which soon slowed as I worked out my best modified gait.

In recent weeks I would stay close to home in case I had to abandon my long run, but today I decided against this. This run would be the same as if I had no problems; I had my phone so I could call Jennifer if the body rebelled.

As the miles mounted and the pace slowed, I often thought of seeing Terry far ahead of me with his limping hop-run gait. We can do this. Pick it up. Put it down, easy. My right thigh and hip flexors began to complain; I responded by stopping every mile and messaging it as best I could.

Let's go Terry.

I feel the pressure build on my residual but it does not go redline. It also seems to respond to the short mile breaks and does not grow more sensitive.

The sun is low in the trees as I head back toward home, still with at least 6 miles to go: 6 miles because I intend to run at least 16 miles. My old schedule was for 17 miles today...I decided mile 17 will be for Terry.

In the dark I find it is a little disorienting when I cannot see the road in the deeper shadows of the trees. I am amazed at the strength of my left leg that has not complained at all. I smile when I think, hey, I guess it sees what happens when you are as disgruntled as the right foot was.

Nearing mile 17, I start to turn down one road, but think it is a cul-de-sac, and continue on, then realizing it was the road I wanted. Oh well, I modify the course to get back home close to my goal.

It is night and my pace has slowed to something I could easily walk; I do not. Near my house I cross a change in the pavement that served as my old mile finish line, miles I use to repeat in the 6:30 range even with my old foot. Tonight this last mile pace is over 14 minutes.

Let's go Terry.

17 miles comes at my driveway. I bend at the waist, hold onto my knees in the middle of the road, as proud of this difficult run as I am of any race, of any PR. There are no crowds, no medals, not another soul in sight.

Just me and Terry.

Thanks man.

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything

My race charms - "IIAGDTR" and "We love our Kingpop"

42. My race number today for the Beaufort Shrimp Festival Lt. Dan 5k, Jennifer was number 41. Was it the answer to life? Was running again, having the first cool day since spring, having Jen-nay at my side part of that equation? Definitely. Life is like a box of chocolates. And I like love them all.


We drove down to Beaufort on Friday, listening to "A Thousand Splendid Suns" audio book. It is difficult to imagine living in such inhumane conditions as under Taliban's backward, tyrannical rule. Man's inhumanity to his fellow man - and woman - is a story has been retold too many times. Evil deceives the parasite it breeds.

We enjoyed dinner with our son-in-law Chris Winn and his parents Kathy and Joe at our hotel. We sat outside for a while, enjoying some beautiful fall weather. Sitting there minding my own business I made a new friend.

"Hello sir, would you have a tuna for me?"
I didn't sleep particularly well that night, not so much concerned about this race but thinking about the problems I have been having with my socket for longer runs. It is difficult to stop thinking about running a marathon when I haven't run more than 16 miles over a month ago. My body is willing, but my socket is not. I had texted with Larry, my CP, on Friday and I will be seeing him on Monday to try to work out this issue.

I'd say I am probably more concerned about whether or not I can get a good socket fit for long runs now; I have used up the very liberal extra time in my marathon schedule. If the fit is not fixed this week, I will be looking at pulling back any expectation of a good race in January. I never intended to be the amputee runner who just limps across the finish line, I want to be the runner who has done his best.


The alarm went off at 5:45 am and I was up and at 'em. Jennifer gets ready in short order but it takes me much longer to work out my prosthetic sock and socket fit. Since my residual is largest in the morning, I put on Jato and walked around the room a bit to get the volume loss down. It felt good, no particular has not been a problem for shorter runs since we tweaked the fit before Kiawah, it just goes south when I am running long.

We parked about a quarter mile from the starting line and retrieved our race packets. The race tee has an illustration of an amputee runner wearing a Cheetah type foot on his right leg. I thought it might be Major David Rozelle but I am not sure. Still, very cool to see a challenged runner being so honored.

Jennifer and I had a good warm-up along the riverside boardwalk. It is a cool morning with a light breeze; this being part of the Shrimp Festival, a couple of shrimp boats are tied up here. Idyllic would be the only word you'd need to describe it.

The race is much larger than the organizers anticipated and the start is delayed by about 10 minutes. We are lined up in a narrow corral about one lane wide, but the runners are called into it by race pace times which works out very well, plus with chips we will get accurate times.

Until I knew we were running over a bridge, I figured I would run under 25 minutes for this race; with the bridge and the lost training from the socket, I wasn't sure what I could do, but likely at least as fast as my last 5k. The heart rate monitor on my Garmin had recently stopped working but I did get a replace on Friday before we left. However, it too did not work, indicating I am going to need a new watch. (Santa: this was a hint.)

The race starts smoothly, I can immediately get up to speed without having to weave around slower runners. In a couple of minutes we turn onto the bridge and head up grade. I keep glancing at my watch and noticed the HRM has stopped working; my pace is good for my effort level. I note about where the half mile point is for the return trip.

After cresting the bridge and heading down, there is a sweeping curve to the left before our next turn. We hit one mile and I am on pace but working pretty hard; no problem with the prosthesis. I should also mention I did not see any other amputee runners which surprised me since this race should have drawn a few. There were many Marines and other military people running and looking strong. I wore Marine colors and did get a Hoorah! as I passed two older soldiers.

Around the 180s turnaround and I am more aware of the other runners to my left. I know I have to feel a constant increase in effort to keep the same pace and note my splits are even, a good thing. Heading back into town and up the bridge I pass about as many people as pass me; the wind is more in our face and I can feel it conspiring with my brain to slow down. I am slowing some and tap my necklace, uttering the words: Up. Up.

I keep my eye on the middle of the bridge where gravity will become my new best friend. I have no problem running down as fast as I care to, and soon make the left turn to head to the finishing line. Somewhere in my brain the thought lights up about this struggle, that as hard as it is, difficult it can be to push on, you can work harder; that when you are finished you do not want to be thinking...what if. I am running at my limit and with a slight right bend in the road see the road clock. I am damn close to finishing under 25 minutes.

I dig down and run harder, faster, but find I just don't have much speed in reserve. Get up on that left foot, push, push, push! The clock seems to be speeding up, and as I cross the line I knew it was no better than 25 flat. Indeed it turns out to be 25:02, a solid PB and nothing left.

The race results are a mess and no way to know how the awards will go. The AG prizes are cool shrimp boat trophies, but I figure with the increased numbers in this race that we will be very lucky to win one. Indeed we are out of the money; I still don't know my AG place even now, rather disappointing race results from Setup Events that are not posted as I write this.

We had a good time but not sure we'll do the race next year since we have so many good local races. I am glad we did it though, nice to see this beautiful coastal town where I ran my best race ever on Parris Island. It was good to set a PB as the older, one-footed shadow of that young boy of so many years ago.

Oh yes. The answer. I know it.



Update: The official results are different than I report, and they seemed to be royally screwed up. Officially: 4/16 in my AG, time 25:44. Not sure where that time came from as it did not take more than 10s to cross the mat from where I standing. Quite a few 99 year olds apparently running it as well, now there is some kind of first. This race needs to get it's act together management-wise, as I believe as this year's growth indicates, it could be a raging success.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sand, Surf, and FOP

Ashley on her way to catch a wave

When I saw the pics of Ashley with a group at the 2010 ACA (Amputee Coalition of America) attendees going surfing, I was struck first and foremost and yet again by her courage, her courage to live life every day without fear.  I think about my recent concerns, okay, whining, about running downhill on a bridge and then I look at this pic and, get a grip.

At 57 years of age, I am still learning. I remember as a kid climbing trees; not so much out of fearlessness as not understanding mortality and the knowledge we are not immortal. Things break. Some cannot be fixed. How far do we go out on that limb?

As a runner, we know the race is going to hurt. It is exceedingly rare that a fit runner of good health will die from the effort - although at the time it may seem like a good idea. Yet when we are done and can reflect on our achievement, we'll often say we had fun. FUN.

Entering my marathon program I think on my friend's courage, her pure bravery, her faith in friends and family.

So yeah, I may be leery of running downhill on a blade with a leg that can't brake very well, but I am going to RUN DOWNHILL. Echoing the words of every kid, "Look Ma, no hands!"

Or skin.


Please help us defeat this disease.  Any donation is the one that might bring the cure to light and joy. Will you be the one to do it? Here is your chance. You can doooo it!