Qualified for the Boston Marathon 18 months after achilles surgery

For those of you early on in your achilles journey, I am just one more successful recovery story. If you’re anything like me, you look for those stories on this blog because they give hope. It’s a long recovery, so hope is a tonic. At least it was for me.

Eighteen months ago I never would have dreamed my achilles could be this strong again. I was a runner of 37 years who hadn’t been able to run for two years because of chronic tendinosis and a huge Haglund’s deformity. I limped 24/7. So eighteen months ago I had surgery to repair my badly diseased tendon after exhausting all the non-surgical options. Slowly, ever so slowly, I was able to begin running again. But it was a long, slow return.

Earlier this month, 18 months from surgery, I ran my 8th marathon in hopes of requalifying for the Boston Marathon. I had qualified twice before but had not been able to run it because of the achilles injury.  On the day of the marathon, it did not look promising. It was very warm and humid and we hadn’t had anything but cool, mild weather for training. The heat and humidity nearly did me in but my achilles was not an issue. The last 3 miles were the hardest ones I’ve ever covered. I realized I may not make it in….but then I realized that I had already WON!!! I was running again. I had successfully completed training for a marathon (without 1 day off because of injury) and I was running a freaking marathon! I think that realization pushed me through.

I did finish. And qualified.  So come April 2016, I plan to be at the starting line for the Boston Marathon. Pretty darn close to a miracle and certainly a dream come true.

That first year after achilles surgery or an ATR is a long, slow recovery - as everyone on this blog can attest. It absolutely helps to have goals. It helps to have patience. It helps to remind yourself over and over that we all heal at different rates, but we do heal. For all of us, time is the ultimate healer. And the healing and strengthening continue well after the first year. For all of you who are in the earlier stages of the journey, I wish you all the best.

8 Comments »

  1. Jeffk Said,

    May 29, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

    Inspiring story - congratulations and good luck next year!!!!

  2. Stuart Said,

    May 29, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

    Kim - do you remember telling me that you were not sure if you would run a marathon again. That was after your first 5k race and now look at you. You are so right about the training. Just to set foot on the course for a race means you have already done at least 1000 km (600 miles) in training. People… go back and read all of Kims posts and grab a bit more inspiration.

  3. LindaF Said,

    May 29, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

    Very inspiring and thanks for sharing. Congratulations!

  4. kimc Said,

    May 29, 2015 @ 6:12 pm

    Stuart - I absolutely remember telling you that. I remember thinking it more than once. This journey certainly provides perspective, doesn’t it? It was lovely to hear from you, Stuart! I hope you are doing well.

  5. kiwibug Said,

    May 30, 2015 @ 1:54 am

    Good luck in the marathon next year.

    Thanks for posting. It is definitely encouraging for those of use who are in the early stages of recovery.

  6. Jeff Said,

    June 4, 2015 @ 9:38 am

    Wow, great inspiration. I had a bone spur removal from my heal and have never been the same since surgery. Lets see, its been about 17 months for me. I’m now noticing a little bit of improvement. Simple things like driving, irritate my heal all the time but, I playing sports, im ok. I play Ultimate Frisbee and this year, no limp after playing. I’m still not full strength but I know I will get there. So im excited to see improvement. Your right, it can be VERY slow but I do see the light now. I still find it hard to look at people running on the side of the road. Running seems to be my biggest hurdle. My heal swells up just looking at people. I ran my first marathon in 2007. Not sure if I will ever run again but your post has given me more hope. thanks.

  7. kimc Said,

    June 5, 2015 @ 1:28 pm

    Jeff - Your achilles is bound to get stronger playing Ultimate Frisbee or anything other activity that doesn’t cause pain or swelling. And I say “yay!” for the “no limp after playing.” I definitely remember what it was like to be limping after doing anything. I hope time and strength gained from other activities will push your surgical foot/ankle to full recovery!

  8. Jeff Said,

    June 8, 2015 @ 4:21 pm

    Thanks again! Yea, I don’t get the limp anymore but the back of my good leg shows soreness because it’s making up for my lack of strength when I push off. But any improvement is good for me!
    Good Luck!

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