January 8th, 2012!  A day I will never forget. On a routine run with my son, I tripped and fell and ended up tearing my rotator cuff.  Being a “guy”, I ignored it and tried to rehab it myself… yes I know, I already told you all this with my very first post,  I just wanted to reflect for a second, because THAT dear readers…was one year ago TODAY!

Now…let’s go back one week. Last Monday my wife came home sick with the flu. Which as any couple will tell you, what one gets; the other is soon to follow. Tuesday I went to bed with a scratchy voice and Weds I was in full flu mode. Taking her advice, I started loading up on ZiCam, trying to keep the flu to a minimum.

Yankee Springs Trail Run leads to accomplishment

Saturday, was Go Time!  Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50K. 31 miles of crazy snow covered trails in SW Michigan! I’d love to tell you that I toed the line, blazed thru the trail and set a Course Record…really I would. That honor though goes to 2Toms/Wolfhound Racing Runner Jonathan Clinthorne. Jon is a BioChemical Ultrarunner and ran the 31 Miles in just under 3 hours 50 Minutes.

But back to me…I toed the line…and at a turtle pace….trudged my way thru the first lap (15.5) in 3 hours 12 minutes. After a brief break at the Montrail Running shoe table where I had stashed my gear, (Montrail was the shoe sponsor for the event). I refilled my bottle and headed out for lap 2. According to those that have done this before, once you get back out on lap 2, “you’ve got it”…I’d like to have a little discussion with “those people”.

Mile 20 I caught up with another runner, Chad. Chad was having a tough go at this point, so I settled in with him. His calves were cramping, and as misery loves company at mile 21 my right calf began to twitch. This was a huge concern, but I was determined to get this done. We ran the last 10 miles together 3-5 minutes at a shot until one of us would have a spasm, then we’d walk a minute. The Aid stations had both Gatorade and Coca Cola (as well as water) which confused Chad. I told him to drink the Coke at the station and save the Gatorade for between. (Something I learned from J Clinthorne, about how different sugars break down). I can’t say why, but 10 minutes later Chad’s cramps went away.

The last 3 miles were the hardest by far. By now, I was running a minute and walking a minute simply because my calves were gone and I couldn’t push off at all. Chad returned my early favor and even when he was feeling better, he stayed with me.

And then…there it was, the Finish Line! 7 hours, 3 minutes and change… but I had brought the year full circle! I had finished what I had started before the injury. Not as fast as I’d hoped, but despite the injury, the setbacks I had run my ultra marathon!

Does that mean I’m done? Hardly! I was told by the Doctor and his assistant, it would take a full year before the symptoms are all gone. And in fact, I still feel the point of surgery. But I’m stronger now than I was a year ago. And for the first time since 1996, I can call myself an Ultra Marathoner!

 

So what’s next? I’m not sure when the next race will be or what it will be, but I can tell you I’ll try to do it right, and I might even get some actual training in beforehand. Or maybe not, but then, what else would you expect from

 

The Recovering Runner!