“All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune.”
-Henry David Thoreau
I guess that’s just another way to say that the bad comes with the good, don’t you think? So far 2011 has not been a great year for me. One might say that I’ve had some misfortune.
August 20 was not a good day for me. I was 95 miles into my first week of workouts under my new coach with Team USA Minnesota, Dennis Barker, and the task on this particular morning was 18 miles with 15 of them at a pace of about 5:15 per mile. Sadly, despite the fact that I was feeling great and gaining momentum with every passing mile, at approximately 8:57 am, I was struck by a black SUV. I was 11 miles into my run on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail.
In the weeks since the incident, I’ve been incessantly recounting what I can, which truthfully isn’t much. I remember about 20 seconds before I got to the road, but I have no recollection of seeing the road or knowing that I was approaching it. I remember seeing a flash of the car to my right before it hit me – that’s how I knew it was a black SUV. Then I remember waking up in the ambulance some time later. Interestingly, though I don’t recall being conscious while I was lying on the road causing a traffic jam, I was able to give a witness my mom’s cell phone number, which allowed her and the rest of my family to get to me before I was taken to shock trauma.
After the accident, I was unable to run or exercise in any way, shape, or form for two weeks due to my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and some bleeding in my brain that concerned my doctors. This was the worst part of the whole ordeal. I had already taken time off after my disappointing track season and was looking forward to my Fall racing schedule, especially once I realized how fit I was getting (I’d also been looking forward to racing on the roads since the few road races I competed in during the Fall of 2009). However, rather than focusing on what I couldn’t do, I reminded myself every minute of how incredibly lucky I was (and am) that I was (and am) still able to run. As I sit here one month and 5 days removed from that fateful morning, I continue to count my blessings and be thankful that I was not more seriously injured.
One major blessing I’ve had the fortune of receiving is Team USA Minnesota. I’ve become part of a close-knit family here where everyone is extremely supportive. Just last night, a bunch of us got together for a bonfire at Cole and Meghan Armstrong Peyton’s house. Combine a cool Fall evening with a warm fire, s’mores (even gluten free ones!), and friends – could it get much better than that?!
In addition to my new team, I’ve also been able to explore the seemingly limitless resources Team USA Minnesota offers its athletes. In the past week alone, I’ve seen a doctor, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, and a massage therapist, and I’ve been using an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, an underwater treadmill, and most recently an ElliptiGO.
My new coach has also been great in making sure that I am clear of any complications that have arisen from the accident. In fact, he encouraged me to take advantage of many of those resources I just listed so we could work together to carefully create a training plan that will get me back to racing without resulting in injury. Our patience appears to be paying off, and now that I’ve been running again for a few weeks, I can tell that my fitness is coming back around. Workouts are going well, my flexibility and core strength are improving, and I’m feeling more and more confident about racing again, hopefully soon.
From me to you until next time, happy running! Be safe!