In the blink of an eye. No. In an instant, in the moment it takes you to go from vertical to horizontal with a 500 pound motorcycle crushing your foot and tearing the most vital ligament in your metatarsals, it happened. I lay there with the bike on top of me. That's what I remember. I lifted the bike off of me. Parked it back in the garage and went to the ER. I had to wait a week for the swelling to subside before I saw the orthopedist. He confirmed the worst news: I had several cracked bones and the lis-franc ligament was torn. That ligament basically holds the foot together. Not supports some of it or helps out the others. This is the main one. He stated that my foot will never be the same, running will be difficult for me and in essence my marathon days are over.
I remember that moment I decided to run my first marathon. I was having dinner with a friend who was signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon. He had injured his ankle and was unable to run. He transferred his race entry to me (I'm not a bandit!).
The doctor left. Thoughts swirling, feelings going every which way. Numb. Surgery was scheduled for the next day. I had been told to prepare for possible surgery that day (no food or coffee after midnight). Now I was told to prepare for surgery for the next day (no food or coffee after midnight). Ugh.
Miles 18-22 were the toughest. Haynes Point. Lonely. Windy. Cold. Had to pee. Then coming around the corner, I saw the crowd. Cheering and yelling and spurring me on. Tears formed. Strength renewed. Just a few more miles to go.
Surgery was uneventful, at least for the surgical team. I now had three screws in my foot. It took quite awhile for the anesthetic to wear off. The ride home was uneventful, at least for me! Since then, I have sat in my recliner with my foot in the air. I usually go outside and sit in the Sun for a bit. Make some phone calls, email (work and personal, check Facebook). Sitting here is the toughest. I want to start rehab. I want the physical therapist to yell at me. I want to move my foot and make it hurt. I want to run.
Just a half mile to go. Uphill to the Iwo Jima Monument. A burst of speed and I ran across the finish line. A Marine placed a finishers medal around my neck. My son was there to congratulate me (and help me back to the hotel and car.) He told me he was proud of me. That is what I remember.
I will recover from this injury. It is not a matter of IF I will, I know I will. That friends, is not a matter of over-confidence, that is the truth. As one friend put it "You've beaten the odds before and you will beat them again." and another friend, "Suck it up Buttercup." Indeed I will. But I am not fooling myself. The road to recovery will be tough, it will be painful and I may not be the same runner as I was once was (not that I was fast by any means) but I also know that I will not travel this road alone. I have you. (a special shout-out to my wife: she has been so wonderful in taking care of me, has not complained, has helped me every hop of the way--she is a blessing!). You will encourage me to push and you will encourage me to slow down.
You will encourage me to...Keep Running!