"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Adventures In Running

i meant to post a comment to Runner Girls blog but thought later that i would just create a post to her predicament. Since i had a rest day yesterday there is nothing to report, except man is it hot.

And screw the people from Arizona who deal with this and say things like...."but it's a dry heat"

This isn't dry it's really effing humid. See living in the great lakes state means lot's of water all around and y'know what? The heat brings the water into the air and guess what...humidity.

Anyway back to my little open letter to Runner Girl:

As someone who has been through two major reconstructive knee surgeries, i can totally understand the pain you are experiencing. i'm not saying i know the exact pain, but i understand how it can be deflating both emotionally and physically.

i also can understand how potentially, other joints may be stressing trying to compensate for an injury causing more health problems.

After my first torn ACL, i looked to sports figures who had recovered from this one time career ending injury. This was years before Jerry Rice had returned to football after a torn ACL during the same season. My favorite example and what i consider a true sports hero, if such a thing exists, is Bernard King.

King played bball for the Knicks and he was an offensive dynamo. Probably Jordan, before Jordan played. King could score anywhere. Accurate 20 footers and the ability to slash to the hole, and jump out of the building. Couldn't D, but nobody did in the early '80's. Hall of Fame career ahead of him, and with DR. J showing some age the next media superstar. Then...

POP... there goes an ACL. No such thing as grafting or donor tissue, just removal of the ligament. Lateral movement is gone, knee is dead, end of career. Except it wasn't....

He fought back. it took time and there were setbacks similar to yours, but he never quit. King made it back to the NBA and guess what happened.....

POP... there goes an ACL. Other knee but same as before, end of career. Except it wasn't...

Again, King put himself through rehab and pushed to return to the NBA, at as close to the same level of play he was prior to the first injury. Total time away was between 4 and 5 seasons with both injuries. Why bother? Players salaries weren't near today's players, so why?

Love of the game.

It pushed King to keep trying. Did he make it all the way back?

Bernard King is the only man to ever play in an NBA All-Star game without an ACL.

When i tore my ACL i stuck a picture of King on my mirror. This served as inspiration to attack my PT as much as possible.

3 years later i tore the graft and the donor tissue ACL ripped. Actually, it was the my bone that splintered. The graft held on a bball injury. The screw literally stripped itself from the bone about 1/2 inch, then the graft popped. To visualize, pull a screw out of a piece of wood, see how the wood splinters....that was my femur.

So again back to the surgeon, rebuild the bone, reattach a new piece of donor ACL, rehab, stop exercising out of fear of the pain, gain 60 lbs over the next 10 years.

Funny thing about starting to run is that people ask about the strain on my knee. I don't know what really caused more strain, weighing 250 -260 or weighing 195 and running to build strength in the leg and keep my weight down. Probably the extra weight was more strain.

Anyway, sorry for the long history of me, but i just wanted you to know you are not alone. If you are unable to run in Chicago, that's cool. Don't worry cause some day you will. i've never ran a marathon so i can't really comment on how much is mental vs physical, but some is physical and if it's not there in Chicago it will be....

Just look to Bernard King.

thanks for reading.

6 comments:

Lisa said...

Injuries suck. Period.

runnergirl said...

Mike,
Thanks so much! I appreciate the support and advise. I'm just trying to be smart about the whole thing, but don't want to give up my dream either! I'm a fighter, I'll be back at it either way!

Kim said...

Great story, Mike. It's nice to be able to draw inspiration from an athelete instead of scandals!

Nitmos said...

I believe I was standing right next to you that day when your second injury occurred. I still remember that painful wail!! Who would have thought you'd be about to tackle your first - of many? - marathon?

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