Thursday, May 21, 2020

My first virtual race

I'm a really cynical person. That said, when someone tells me they're running a virtual race, in my mind they're just going to a trophy store. They're not for me. If you want a medal and a t-shirt you can go shopping.

But because of covid-19 there are no races now and my running club was organizing a virtual race that was free and had no medals. it also replaced the race that I used to direct, it also replaced the race that I had been training for for a year.

So let me review a little. A little over six years ago I found myself in the hospital because I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. My recovery was a little bit of a roller coaster. Here's a picture of me on my birthday on June 7th 2014. I guess I kind of look happy. But it's not because it was my birthday. I was happy because the day before I had the central line removed from my carotid artery on my right side. Plasmapheresis is a very unpleasant process.  Getting the tubes taken out of the side of my neck was the best birthday present I ever had. But in that picture I am literally propped up. My arms and hands are where they are because they were put.  Having tubes surgically installed into the arteries on the side of your neck is really unpleasant.  I guess there's a reason they only do it to paralyzed people.

So I walked into the hospital on May 7th 2014 and on September 17th  I came home from rehab  In a wheelchair.  In 2017 I managed to finish the New York City marathon. I was 5th from last person  and it was glorious. But I walked. Two weeks after that Marathon I began my first a five surgeries to get my hands to work better. The last surgery was in June of 2019 and the last time I saw the surgeon he looked at me and asked "What's next?"  I told him I wanted to run. He surprised me and told me he knew the guy who would get a team together to make that happen. A sports medicine guy. A guy who can get me into sports physical therapy. Sporty orthopedics. Podiatry.  All the Avengers.

So in the fall I left the world of Rusk Rehabilitation rehab and transferred over to the Sports Performance Lab at NYU. The plan was that I was going to get new ankle-foot orthotics in August ( I had to wait five years since getting the old ones so insurance would cover them)  that were made of titanium and have a hinge so I can run in them. I need the orthotics to run because I still have pretty bad foot drop. I use up a lot of energy lifting my knees higher than everyone else because I don't want to trip over my own feet because I can't lift my ankles The long-term goal was is to qualify for the Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired athlete. That would mean means running a 6-hour marathon. As opposed to the 9 hours and 45 minutes it took me to walk New York.
Alter G Sessions - Chicago Recovery Room
Not me

In physical therapy I got to use an alter-g treadmill. It wasn't like the treadmills they got me on when I was in Inpatient Rehab. With those they used straps to connect me to the ceiling that did not really work with my boy parts.  An alter G uses air pressure to hold you up from your waist.  It not only relieves you of weight it makes you unable to fall. So it was easier to run and safer. About the third time I used it I was able to run a mile at my goal marathon pace. I did cry,

I used to say that training for and running a couple of marathons a year prepared me to recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome. Now I feel that  having dealt with Guillain-Barre syndrome is prepared me to qualify for Boston, a goal that is just at the Horizon for me.

In  early March I ran a hilly crowded 5K. It took me an hour and 5 minutes, just five minutes faster then walking back in November. But then covid-19 happened and my physical therapy stopped. The gym closed. I've had nothing to do but run. And I've been running. I've been increasing my speed and my distance. Saturday I did an LSD run. Long Slow Distance.  It was a beautiful day so I avoided both Prospect Park and the East River bridges. I ran down to Brooklyn Bridge Park and under the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge and back.  I ran just over ten miles and it took me almost 4 hours.I rested since Saturday because I really wanted to see how fast I can run a 5k. I really wanted to see if I can break an hour.

This was a virtual race.  Most of my teammates ran anywhere and anywhen they wanted.  They use their GPS devices to make their own course. I don't have a GPS thing and I was not into doing that.  I went to the starting line of the course that I designed at the time the race was supposed to start. (Actually, I started about an hour early because I got there early and I got cold).  I waited there for someone who looked like they cooperate when I asked, "Hey, I'm about to run a race would you mind saying the word "GO"'.  I got the full On Your Mark Get Set Go!

So I was supposed to be running this 5K by myself but I was never really alone. The park was really crowded. So much so that we could never have organized a 5K oh, it would have been too many people in our way. Or we would have been in the way of too many people. And a couple of my friends / teammates did see me along the way and kept me company from a safe social distance. I even finish the race with my friend Josh. Currently we're on the same team. But we used to be on another team together. We were Sharks, but that is another blog post that either of us might right

Below is  my rambling post-race Facebook video. Here's a link to it on Facebook where you can see  or leave a comment

Hey, I had published but I just went back here to edit. I forgot something very important. My finish time! The last November I walked a 5K in an hour and 10 minutes. In March I tried to speed up and run and it took me an hour and 5 minutes. My goal was to break an hour.  56:56 BOOM

No comments:

Post a Comment

You do not have to be nice!

This is not me

This is not me
Not me.

Blog Archive