For all of you who are starting your rehab or thinking that you can’t possibly recover from this devistating injury, let me update you on my progress.
Some background - I am a 41 yr old somewhat overweight typical weekend warrior who ruptured my AT playing softball in May 2008 (some 22 months ago or so). I had never run more than 4 miles before the rupture, and, although I always enjoyed running, the tendonosis that preceded my rupture for 4 years wouldn’t allow that.
Now fastforward to a few months back - I continued running after completing physical therapy - all on a treadmill, and had this hairbrain idea to run a half-marathon. I entered the lottery for the NYC half-marathon, and was filled with both excitement and fear when I got in to the race. So March 21 was circled on my calendar.
Training went ok - got up to about 9 miles - but all on the treadmill. Even 18 months post-ATR, given all the rain and snow we had in the northeast this winter, I was afraid to run outside - one slip and who knows. Then work got busy and training took a back seat. Then, a week before the race, for the first time in my life I got back spasms and could barely walk. So, there I was on the night before the race, not knowing if I would be able to race and not having run for almost 2 weeks.
Woke up early Sunday morning to a perfect 50 degree day and decided to give it a shot. I donned my achillesblog t-shirt and headed into Manhattan. 16,000 runners lined up in Central Park and I was insanely nervous. The gun went off and off I went. I was running outdoors for the first time in over 5 years - and it was a 13.1 mile race. The first 6 miles were actually pretty ok (other than going out too fast in mile 1 and the 2 nasty hills in Central Park). Mile 7 was all about getting out of the park and seeing my wife and 2 of my kids who were waiting for me on 7th avenue as I exited the park. If I knew how to upload pics, I would upload the picture of me running towards them. Running through Times Square and seeing myself on the Jumbotron as I ran through was a hoot - and I got to mile 9 in decent shape. The last 4.1 miles were hell. I walked a lot of it - every time my calf twinged, I was afraid I would get a cramp or worse yet tear something. As I got to the last mile, I looked at my watch and realized that I was within striking distance of 2 1/2 hours - the outside range of what I was shooting for (I wanted 2:10, but would settle for 2:30). I willed my body to run the last kilometer, crossed the finish line, stopped my stopwatch, and saw 2:30:01. If I missed by one second, I was going to strangle someone. Thankfully, my official time was actually 2:29:58 - I made it! I cried tears of joy as I crossed the line and said a silent thank you to my physical therapist. The next few days were tough - joints hurt, muscles ached, but the AT felt great all the way through.
So I guess the message is that this injury, as horrible and debilitating as it is, can be a good thing. Anyone who wants to join me running my next half marathon, just let me know - hey, we can run in our AchillesBlog t shirts and raise some money for charity - any takers??
Happy healing everyone!
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