Friday, September 30, 2011

Thin Air

On Wednesday I received word from 7 and soon-to-be-8-time Boston Marathon MI (Mobility Impaired) runner Kelly Luckett that we were indeed confirmed to run the 2012 edition of this legendary race. Kelly spoke to the woman in charge of our division and was told she (Kelly), Shariff Abdullah (Singapore Blade Runner) and I (goober) were all in. Although we were waiting - and still are as I write this - on the "official" word directly from the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) in the form of an email or letter and wanting to see our names on the entrant's list, I knew I was officially in the race.

Shariff Abdullah, the Singapore Blade Runner (SBR)


The week had started with an early morning 6 mile run on Monday. This was the first time ever I have run with a headlamp, and I found it worked extremely well. The lamp I have was purchased in Maine when Jennifer and I were vacationing with my brother Mark and his wife Debbie some years ago. I used it to get around at night after my surgery when I was on crutches or in my wheelchair; this was so I could see without waking Jennifer and to avoid tripping/running over rugs, pets, or any other inventive obstacles.

Back to the run, as I started my 6th mile, I felt my residual leg pistoning some (moving up and down) in my liner. What I should have done was to stop, check my leg, and likely added a prosthetic sock to snug up my fit. Trouble was I did not have an extra sock with me...or much good sense.

I continued to run and when I got home I found a previous hot spot had the skin taken off and was bleeding a little. The nickel-sized spot was right on the tibial crest, where it is difficult to protect from the pressures of running. Further irritation would only deepen and enlarge the wound, so I would need to take some time off.

Since I have had some issues in this area in the past, I made an appointment with my prosthetist and will get an adjustment soon. To help mitigate pressure on the area, I applied some material to either side of the tibial crest to push the affected area away from socket. This should remove the most intense forces from causing any more damage.

Such an injury will cause several training days to be missed. Usually this upsets me some, but given I did not heed the warning signals, I have learned yet another hard lesson. In a stroke of questionable fortune, I developed a seasonal cold that would require some downtime as well. So now I am taking care of two mortal conditions simultaneously, but should be pieced together and ready to go in a few days.


After I learned of my acceptance into the Boston Marathon, I posted the news on Facebook and Twitter and sent a few emails. It was great to share this announcement with people who have been there with me for this journey, many supporting my fund raising efforts at the Charleston Marathon for The International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association (IFOPA), honoring our friend Ashley Kurpiel.

As I sat at my desk processing what this meant, I kept thinking of the day my surgeon told me my running days were over. I was not ready to give up, yet those words fell on my spirit with the weight of a thousand tons. Going from that dark moment to this one is nearly impossible to convey.

It crossed my mind that miracles are not some kind of supernatural magic, rather, a very real condition that deep belief can bring to pass on sheer will. The will to take what is not, and transform it into what is. Even if it is not to be, to never yield to the dark. Dr. Ohlson took what was not, my damaged right foot, and in its void a the miracle arose.

Out of nothingness, this bright thing. Being.


I still plan to celebrate the direct, official email or letter that the BAA will send that confirms my place on the starting line, no doubt to be framed and cherished for the rest of this life. Life is strange and surprising; few if any of us see the voyage from beginning to end with clarity of the journey. There are a few more surprises along the way, and I hope I can make a few dreams come true.

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