Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Culmination

     Two Hundred and Seventy days seems like an incredibly long amount of time.  When injured and attempting to rehab for comeback in the sport you love.  Time flies.  When you are going 10 MPH for 180 of those days while in the mountains of Afghanistan, the rehab is even more compact.  

     Having a support system of friends and family made it more like an extreme test.  I started seriously hitting rehabilitation in January.  That was my best month in years for mileage running.  Work was not letting up, so I had to be creative in my training.  If I was going to be working all day into the night I would hit the gym at 5 in the morning and run, work on my core and then hit work ready.  Most days I was able to basically do two a day’s which were right after each other.  On others I would work out in the Am and PM.  

     As most will be able to attest, when you want to accomplish something really bad, stuff happens.  The month of February was horrible for training as I had some Upper Respiratory issues that would not go away.  I still trained but not like I wanted to.  

    Tune races are all part of a comeback as I see it.  On Feb 23rd I ran in the love your heart 10K on Fort Campbell.  I ran with my wife and pushed her to her PR in the event.  I felt great that day.  Over the next couple weeks the miles started to add up but I could not increase my speed.  

     Now a year and some change ago another man got injured playing the game he loves.  Adrian Peterson was interesting to me when he played college ball and even more as a pro.  He did not let the fact that he tore his knee up stop him.  He has been called superhuman for his rehabilitation.  His team doctors all say he was the best patient.  So he went from having what would be a career ending injury just 10 years ago to winning the NFL rushing title (2097 yards) and the League MVP.  What was his motivation?  He is a top tier athlete and above all a strong willed man.  He pushed himself and came back hard. So could I (minus the high paid Doctors and staff)

     My inspiration heading into the Run the Bluegrass Half-Marathon on 30 March was proving to myself I can still go 13.1.  I had crazy dreams of a 1:45-1:50 time however; I knew my speed was not there yet.  On Feb 27th my wife had to have her Gallbladder removed.   Three days later she wanted to get out and run.  Four years ago she would not have thought about running since she hated it so much.  Now she is so into it she fears missing some training.  So now we had about a month for me to complete my comeback and her to put on a show of strength.  The week prior to the Bluegrass my Unit had a 12 mile road march in full combat gear.  I did that on the 20th then ran the USO 10 Mile race with my wife on the 23rd.  She rocked it again.  We now had a week left till Bluegrass.  

     Of course like every busy family we packed the week with activities.  On Monday the Wounded Warrior Project hosted us at the Nashville Predators game.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I was on missions at Ft Campbell and my brother arrived from New Jersey.  Thursday was our travel day to Lexington.  It was a scenic trip with lots of Horses and farms driven through.  We hit the expo first.   The race became a local event instead of a Rock and Roll event.  This of course made the expo a more quaint event.  In other words there were not thousands of people milling around with vendors hawking their fare at you.  Even though it was not big they had a very big name there to sign books and speak.  Mr. Hal Higdon Himself was there.  It was very impressive to meet this man.  I have used his training plans for a few years now and was able to thank him.   

     We then ate at Shakespeare’s restaurant in downtown Lexington.  The place was very artsy on the inside.  The food from appetizer through the main course was outstanding.  If you stay in Downtown I recommend eating here.  

    We of course toured the local area for Friday and then had a bad dinner experience on Friday night.  We ate at a sub-par over rated restaurant (Suttons in Lexington) and wound up paying for it, in more ways than one.  They of course were rated high by the hotel and its guide.  Do not recommend this one.  

     Race morning was foggy and cool.  We drove the five miles to the start line from downtown Lexington.  Parking was in a grass lot on the grounds of Keeneland.  We walked up the hill to the registration building and warmed up in there.  Once the 10 to go call was made we headed to the corals.  Since when I signed up for this I was still on crutches I put a 2:30 time.  Of course as athletes we know that most runners do not put the right time on their registrations anyway.  Usually this is for the thought if they start in a fast coral they will not be in traffic.  As we ushered up to the start line I said farewell to my wife, pressed start on my Garmin and took off.  The course was listed as Beautiful with rolling hills.   Well the hills were there but not rolling.  The worst hill was after mile 9.  It was the biggest one with switchbacks in it.  This slowed me down a bunch.  The final three miles were painful with the knee throbbing.    I knew I came this far I was going to finish.  My dreams of a fast time or PR were out the window.  As I turned to the finish I knew I was right near 2 hours.  I ducked my head got my medal and went through the finishing shoot.  I grabbed chocolate milk, a shot glass of M&Ms and a banana.  Found my daughter and handed my bib and then ran to find my wife.  I ran back until I found her and ran with her in.  She finished in under 2:30 on a very tough course.  She did awesome.  
March Madness Band at the 13 Mile mark

    We then went to a local distillery since we were in Bourbon country and had a tour.  The Woodford reserve distillery was very interesting.  Yes we tasted it and it was smooth.  They also served some Bourbon Balls very good and addictive.  We then linked up with friends for dinner at the third on our list of restaurants DeShas.  It too was highly rated.  I will have to say the food was not horrible but it was pricey.  Service was hit and miss.  If you are in a bind eat there. 

     The comeback is complete, but the journey will continue.  Thanks to all those who stood with me along the way, You Rock!!!!

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