Thursday, May 5, 2011

CRBR 2011

I have to admit, I had higher hopes for this year's edition of this lowcountry classic. We (my former prosthetist Larry Wiley and myself) had talked to the Cooper River Bridge Run race director about having a mobility impaired division for this event. Everything seemed on track to make this the race where amputees would be on equal, uh, footing as the wheelchair racers, not necessarily receiving awards but having the results separated from the able-bodied athletes.

This was not to be. It turned out any group could create a team, and even these did not appear in the official results. In the end it takes a runner to understand running and how much it means to be a runner. Being on the other side of the fence allows me to see what I did not see before, and that is what I hoped to change as an amputee. It takes more than words and promises to make things happen, it takes action. I have heard things may change next year; given I plan to run Boston near the time of this race I may not be running the 2012 edition but we will see.


It was my goal to be able to run under 50 minutes for this race, thinking back when I started training for the Charleston Marathon last year that I would have a great base of mileage to transition to speedwork. As followers of this blog know, that was not to be. I did get in some quality 10k training and lowered my amp PR on this challenging course, so I am pleased with that progress.

King Street Pic 1
King Street Pic 2

Where's Waldo?

There he is.


When you look at the above pics you might notice a guy with a prosthesis. What you don't see are the athletes dealing with other issues, invisible things, often far more disabling than a missing foot. One such person is my sister-in-law, Nancy Starrett. Nancy is the wife of Jennifer's brother Gary, and they live in Colorado where we visit and run the Bolder Boulder 10k on occasion.

Me, Jennifer, Connor, Nancy, Princess Becca, Mistah Chris
Nancy has scoliosis. She endured two very invasive surgeries as part of a procedure to give her relief from a condition that was worsening and affecting her quality of life. Her activity level was severely diminished and she had to make a difficult decision. She chose surgery that would arrest the curving of her spine and help straighten her back. This meant two titanium rods would be implanted along her spine and screwed into the vertebrae; the pic below shows what no one sees.

Titanium Spine
Nancy's post-op surgery was not without complications. Fluid seeped into her lungs and several times she had to have them pumped out. To know Nancy is to know she complains little, so when she says it hurts most of us would be headed to the ER in an ambulance.

There seems to one area around a single screw that is causing Nancy significant discomfort. It may be a bursa has developed and she is considering getting a cortisone shot for some pain relief. She had not had this done yet at the CRBR, yet walked the entire 10k, I believe about a mile further than she had walked before.

Nancy remains in discomfort, painkillers only masking the problem. I am hoping she receives the okay to have her shot soon and that it will begin to dissolve this one barrier to a better life.

I doubt Nancy will ever become a poster child for Pearl Izumi, but they could gain wisdom from her. Whether we run, jog, walk, crawl, push a wheelchair, or simply dream we could do any of these things, many do all they can and far more than most in their situation. Nancy does, she is an inspiration to me, and underlines that simple mantra:

1 comment:

  1. And Nancy is currently training for a 1/2 marathon this fall!