Come back

Matt Long, a New York City Fire Fighter, was riding his bike to work one winters day in 2006 when he was literally crushed by a bus. A competitive Marathon runner, Matt had just completed the NYC marathon in just over 3 hours and had has his sights set on Boston. That all came to abrupt halt though. In one day Matt went from elite athlete, to someone who may never walk again. However with immense drive, determination, and over 40 surgeries, Matt did more than walk. Against all odds, Matt survived his ordeal, and in 2008 completed the NYC marathon again at age 42. He continues to push the limits to this day and has even written a book about his ordeal entitled “The Long Run”. I highly recommend it.

Bart Yasso has been called the Mayor of Running. Like most runners out there, running kind of happened by accident for him. He was not born a runner. When he was young he battled vices like drugs and alcohol. It was his older brother challenging him to a 10k race in 1973, that started his running career. He lost that race, but it sparked something within him. He won the next race, and one year later completed his first Marathon. Since then he has completed over 1,000 races on all 7 continents. He joined Runners World in the late 80’s creating The Runners World Race Sponsorship program. Today Runners World works with over 7,000 races annually. Bart has also been in a long Battle with Chronic Lyme Disease which he was diagnosed with in 1997. Over the years it has progressed and has done extensive damage to the right side of his body. It unfortunately limited what he could do as a runner, but considering what he had accomplished throughout his running career he was relatively at peace with things, save for one finish line that he had yet to cross.

The Comrades Marathon is a grueling 56 mile race in South Africa that takes runners up and down mountains for hours and hours. In 2010 at age 54, after being on the sidelines for years and still plagued with lime disease Bart Yasso completed the Comrades Marathon, thus completing his 33 year running career.

Captain Ivan Castro, a highly skilled and rightly decorated war hero was severely inured in an attack on a rooftop in Iraq in 2006. Mortars landed just a few feet from him. He was lucky enough to survive, though the blast shredded the right side of his face body, collapsed both of his lungs and left him permanently blind. Though his ability to see was gone, the guy who loved a challenge was not. 13 Months, and 36 surgeries after the attack, he completed his first Marathon, The Marine Corps Marathon, in a time of of 4:14…..blind! He’s since completed over a dozen marathons and plans on running 100 miles and biking across the country.

It was march of 2010 when Glenn Peison slid into second base….. Alright, that doesn’t sound nearly as dramatic and yet here I am, completely unable to run. I know, I know, I’ve been trying not to let myself go there (clearly I’m failing) but my frustration has peaked. It has been well over a month since I’ve run a single step and a year and a 2 months since I was initially injured. I feel rather silly. It’s a sprain!!! People have battled disease, been blown up and run over and I can’t come back from rolling my ankle. It’s unbelievable. Contrary to what some may think, I have not been stubborn or dumb about this. Ok, I admit I did not rehab properly initially but since that time, I have been making this a priority and I have been doing all of the right things in all the right places for months and months without seeing results.

I have seen 4 doctors. I’ve had MRI’s and X-ray’s. I’ve done shots of cortisone, strengthening and flexibility exercises, water therapy, massage, and most recently chiropractic. I have experienced some progress in the past few weeks. At least I think I’ve found two doctors who understand, that it’s not about stopping the pain and getting things back to a manageable point. It’s about treating the condition and getting me back to full strength so I can continue to do what I love. Though, the pain is pretty severe. I found Dr. Brown back in December and he made me some great new orthotics that were working well for me. After I ran the Charleston Marathon in January and taking a few weeks off, I began training for the Palmetto 200 and from late January to about mid March, I was feeling pretty good. Then the pain started to creep back into my right foot again. This time the pain was more severe and not merely located to my ankle, it was my entire foot, and it hurt all of the time. I decided that the Palmetto 200 would be my last race for a while, and again focused on rehabing my foot and ankle. The pain continued to worsen, I went back to see Dr. Brown, who referred me to Dr. Eric Basset, who is a chiropractor with a more holistic approach to treatment than most doctors. He’s really focused on overall health and helping the body do what it is designed to do. He’s also a distance runner. I’ve been to 10 therapy appointments and they have been torture. I cried uncle during my first appointment and actually burst out into laughter the pain was so ridiculous. It seems that I have a great deal of accumulated damage not only in my foot but in the muscles in my legs as well. We have been working diligently on breaking up scar tissue, and getting healthy tissue to take its place. I do 1-2 hours of physical therapy every day. The therapy and massage work that I’ve been having doing seems to be working in that my doctors say that things are moving correctly now and my flexibility and strength are increasing. So, all signs point to improvement, but am I still in pain. Yeah, that one has my doctors baffled as well.Even they say that I should be experiencing improvement at this point, and I’m not.

I have no problem following a routine. Tell me what to do, and how long to do it, and I’ll commit. What I have a problem with is going to down a road that eventually dead ends, and I’ve done that a few times over now.  My mother says listen to your doctor(s). Done that. She also says I should scale back. Done that too.

Fortunately, I am still able to ride and I’ve spent a lot of time in the saddle recently without any major discomfort. And before anyone gets on my case about that, riding is actually a part of my active rehab.

It’s just frustrating to think of the level I should be at by now. I’ve lost over a year. But, at the same time, I wasn’t really training or recovering properly before I was injured so I was probably destined to be sidelined at some point anyhow, but not for this long. I’ve grown weary of the better/worse roller coaster. I just want to level out and make some steady progress. I had hopes of running the Akron Marathon in Ohio in September, but at this rate, it doesn’t really seem like that’s going to be possible.

Is my running career really over after 4 years?

My frustration has reached an all time high. I don’t know what to do anymore. I try to work through the pain, it gets worse. I stop all together, it gets worse. I follow a doctor’s plan, it gets worse.I go left, I go right….

I’m at the point where I am ready to consider cutting my foot off and do things Skywalker style.

Desperate and open to suggestions…

~ by glennikin on May 15, 2011.

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