Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two Hundred Twenty Six

There have been many goals I have achieved - and a few not yet realized - on this path from what I was to what I am. Some, like running my first race and later my marathon, were large goals reached, while others, like being able to walk a quarter mile without crutches, were important first steps that had to be met before others were taken.

I try to be cognizant of all my goals, small and large, because each builds on the other. Last week while updating my run log, I realized I had reached a huge milestone that took me by surprise. In my able-bodied days I always considered a 200 mile month to be the mileage needed to run with some success, more or less depending on what I was training for. So when I reached this amputee goal, I was very proud of what I had done:

I had run 226 miles over a 4 week period.

This is about the distance from the Isle of Palms to Greenville, SC

This took a while to sink in...I had run 60, 45, 65, and 56 miles and shockingly, not missed a single day due to injury. Before going to Procare, I rarely went 2 weeks without some injury causing me significant downtime, from a swelling fibula head to the opening of my incision line.

This is not to say I will always be injury free as an amputee. Just as a person with all limbs intact, things happen. Achilles tendons get sore, hamstrings become unhappy, and shins decide to slow you down. As an amputee runner, the issue is generally compromised skin, leg skin (or some scar tissue) that was not intended to be used for bearing weight like a foot.

This means fit has to be as anatomically perfect as possible, which currently is nearly impossible since the limb is always changing shape. Here is where my prosthetist's experience is solid gold, in using elevated vacuum to help mitigate these changes along with a prosthesis that does not adhere to yesterday's thinking.

My marathon schedule, though aggressive, was designed to be long enough at 22 weeks to accommodate some downtime for the unforeseen injuries or life events. As it stands, I am ecstatic that am I training without my prosthesis limiting me in any significant way...only my age can do that now, and we duke it out every day.

As I write this I am working toward a 67 mile week capped by a 20 mile long run. Then it's some recovery time over the Christmas holidays, where the carbo-loading effort will be easily met. Shortly afterward in January, I hope to give a good half marathon effort at the Charleston Marathon where I should be able to better gauge what I can do at Boston.

Boston seems as if it is around the corner instead of nearly 4 months away. That is a good thing to me, there is no chance any thought will cross my mind that I can take a breather except for those I've planned. My schedule is proving to be tough but doable, and as long as I stay in one piece - which is only slightly ironic - I should arrive on that Boston starting line as fit as I have been in many years.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Not going to happen, brother. It may be slow, but it will be my all.

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