"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights." -Muhammad Ali
The Long Road Back
I found it comforting that even though since my body rapidly wore down in the fall of 2009, I am still known as "hey it's that runner guy!" (To me that is Chris Mason, Jake McAndrew, Jeremy West, Juan Martinez or a number of other locals. Runner Girl would be my sister Meg) As exciting as it was to go from a runner in the back of the pack in 2005, to a winner of a handful of races by 2009, it has been a long road. One filled with heartache, and frustration. I have been to the top of the mountain, and pushed off the cliff. Today is my first full day back. If there is a devil he can't keep me down, and if there is a heaven, apparently it isn't my time yet. So while I am here, I feel it is time to do all I can. This writing is about tracing my steps.
Boston 2009 - Mason & Grant Classic
Everything started going downhill before Boston 09. Dislocated kneecap and many bodily warnings that I didn't heed. Great doctors took their time and found alternative methods to keep me on my feet. For example cold laser therapy and Kinesio taping. Getting through Boston was the most horrible pain I have ever felt. Then after that it wasn't that bad. I rehabbed with a bunch of great ladies at the local YMCA after Boston and started feeling better. After winning the M & G Classic 10k I felt like I Was getting back in shape. Shortly after I was in my second car accident in 2 years in December 09. Life has been a struggle since. Since that day it was just tough to wake up and go to sleep each day. Especially going to sleep.
Coming Back Too Early
In January 2010, I was determined for a comeback. Which I now deem the biggest mistake I have made to date. Things were changing in my life and I wanted the negative out and all of those people with it. The good people stood behind me, the rest determined to take me down most days it seemed. My car was totaled and I couldn't afford a new one. So only 3 weeks after the accident I am loading up a backpack and running around town doing errands. Mind you I still have broken ribs and I am developing another health issue that I hadn't foreseen. I started feeling like if I could overcome this I could do anything. The Citizen did a "No Pain No Gain" article on me at this time. Shortly after the pain hit and there wasn't much gain though it had always been my mantra. Then somewhere in March 2010, it all fell apart. I felt a pop in my chest and the rest is history.
Dr. Landers and His Help
I would have never comeback from the accident if it weren't for the help from Dr. Brian Landers. Dr. Landers has an office on South Street in Auburn, NY. I know that he stated that I healed very fast due to my fitness level but without the treatments and him visiting my house 3x a week, I would never have been there. Around March as I was saying I heard a pop in my chest and it's been nearly impossible to run since. (at the level I am used to) I continued treatments and I continued running. I made it to July. A good friend of mine was lying on his death bed stricken with stage 4 cancer. Earlier that month had asked me to run in a race in July. I gave it all I could. 2 weeks before the race I broke a tibial bone in my foot, add that to the chest problem and I was blah feeling. I kept the treatments up.
The Summer of Why?
I ran the race in July and finished in the top 25 but after the first mile I knew something was wrong. I knew it was time I retire or face serious issues. The sternum issue was causing respiratory issues and sometimes wouldn't locate back into he right area. When sprinting it was nearly impossible to breathe at times. After running for some friends in the hospital and my friend who passed away I decided maybe it is time for a change. Spent the whole summer having some parties at the house nearly weekly to help me forget about running. I met some great new people and boy I wouldn't change it for the world. I found in the summer that those who are true to being your friends have your back, those that want things, well you know what they are good for. I tried to maintain some small runs with my friend and neighbor Mike Emmart but I kept feeling worse and worse. I kept running and so did TheRun4life and its goals.
Change in Plans
The layoff gave me time to think. It was when I came up with the idea of having timed Kids races. I got tired of running and watching the kids always sitting on the sidelines while the parents reveled in their medals and times. That has always bothered me. That was when the idea of the kids before adult races came about. Kid's come first as they should.
The First Missed Fall
When I started running the fall races were my favorite. They had an aura about them that I loved. I remembered my first ever race and finishing in the last 100 but loving it. I remembered races like the Falling Leaves, Alyssa's Run, the Arc that got the ball rolling for me. I really missed the Fleet Feet 50 mile relay which was my favorite all-time race. When you love the fall and you can't run, well it stinks, plan and simple. Sometimes runners take things for granted till they are all taken away.
Christmas Day Run
The Christmas day run was a last minute idea. That was the day I realized that I was feeling better and could run again if I started in small increments. My chest will never be 100% again but heck with it. That was a fun day and many great people gave up an hour on the most precious days of the year to MAKE A STATEMENT. There are people in the area in need and it doesn't stop just to give gifts on one day. I thank all of you that donated canned goods and came out. Your show of gratitude goes a long way.
The one thing I learned through it all is you have to be true to your self. People will come and go but if you give up on yourself then in my book, you are nothing. I started feeling like I gave up on myself. Though at the same time, while resting I came up with many new ideas and events for 2011. Even though today marks the date of my official comeback, I am more excited about all of those kids races that we have coming up in 2011. Starting in May, many kids races on the docket and the return of Trick R' Trot. So going forward I am going to blog my progress and on certain days blog in some kids running ideals. Too many people don't realize that kids can burn out just like you and I. Many people out there giving bad advice.
If you made it this far. I thank you for being part of everything we have accomplished, will still accomplish and more importantly set in motion for the kids of our community. I know I can be a little eccentric at times but I say maybe if you try to understand the goals a bit more then you will understand me. Go through what I have and maybe you will for once, get it. I think it is one of those things where you don't get it unless the trauma happens to you. This is a hard world but we can make it a little brighter each day by giving back.
Tomorrow I will blog my first day working out at the gym at Champions for Life. I will be there all year. I welcome anyone to join. Here is to all the great people that made Therun4life the great place it is!