The comeback forward.
Recovering from the ankle injury may have been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have done. Enjoying the ability to get out and run for a while was not a luxury to me until it was gone. I began to realize just how important and vital running was in my life. I began to see myself getting slightly depressed, knowing I did not have the option to lace up and go out for my time of solace, but I also knew I HAD to rest, otherwise I could really mess up my ankle and not every really be able to run (and progress) in the years to come. I began to go to physical therapy because I knew nothing about how to recovery properly. Over the course of a month, I saw great improvement and was able to get out and do some light jogging. However, I was at a loss on what to do for getting back. All I knew how to do for exercise was run and I was afraid that if all I did was run, I would mess my ankle up more.
So after having heard about P90X from all those TV commercials, and seeing great results from a friend, I jumped on board. It offered me the chance to keep training without doing loads of running. I loved the ability to work out at home, knowing I was building strength and endurance without putting a ton of stress on my ankle. Every now and then I would go for a short run, usually just a 4 or 6 miler. After getting cleared from my physical therapist, I signed up for the Seattle 2009 half-marathon. I wanted the chance to test my ankle, see how it would hold up. I decided to not set a goal for finishing the race. I wanted to see where I was and go from there, with the goal of WR50 in mind. Then as the race day approached, I thought I could pull off a 1:40 finish…hopefully. I remember feeling silly for ‘only’ running a half-marathon, but I had to remember I was in no place to be aiming for a full. As I ran the course, my ankle felt amazing, not tense or tight, and very stable. As I pulled in to the final stretch at the football field, I saw the clock at 1:39 and sprinted to finish in just seconds over 1:40. I was back!
My mind was set on training to finish WR50. My plan was to do another round of P90X in January, modified for running. That meant I did not adhere to the diet, eating carbs throughout and exchanging the Kenpo workout for an hour + run. After finishing P90X in March, I wanted to start training for long runs, with the BMO Vancouver Marathon as the next solid goal. It was two months out, on May 2nd, 2010. I wanted to finish in under 4 hours. The time was not a ‘fast’ time by any means, but it was a personal goal, and I knew I needed to be able to run a marathon and still be able to keep going. So I wanted a time that would not completely exhaust me.
The Vancouver Marathon was a different experience. My friends Dave and Katie wanted to come along to support me and cheer me on. This was the first time I was going to have a support team, and it was exciting. I got to see them get caught up in the thrill of marathon culture which was great too. The day of the race, Dave drove me to the starting line as Europe’s “The Final Countdown” came onto the radio. Fitting. Dave prayed over me as he was about to drop me off. Also fitting. How wonderful to be able to be prayed for concerning something that started and continued to be my most deeply personal prayer time. As I lined up for the start of the race, I noticed something new; I was shivering. I am known as the guy who never gets cold, and here I was starting to shake because it was about 45 F and starting to rain. Then the rain got heavier. Having been in the Pacific Northwest for almost 2 years at the time, I had begun to realize the different definitions of rain. For me, from the South, it meant the rain that you can barely drive, or walk from the door to your car without getting completely soaked. Here in the PNW, rain means that annoying drizzle of mist that you can never decide whether or not to turn your windshield wipers on or not. But this morning, it was like a good ol’ southern rain, and it didn’t stop. I had never been so adverse to running the rain. I normally liked it, but for ~4 hours? No thanks. Dave and Katie met me at 2 different spots along the course, and it was amazing. I loved the idea of knowing that I had that moral support to look forward to, along with smiles and laughs! As I came down the final stretch, I scanned the crowds looking for my ‘crew.’ Once I spotted them I charged over to the gate for a round of high fives as I sprinted to the finish line. I ended up crossing at 3:52, and felt amazing! I was back and progressing. Now on to WR50.