Why I May Never Be Able To Run A Marathon Again

Why I May Never Be Able To Run A Marathon Again

Yesterday(Wednesday, July 11, 2012) I had the first of many surgeries on my right knee.  Odds are, that next year at this time, I will still be having operations or in a state of recovery from an operation.

Back in March, I was involved in an accident that left both of my Achilles tendons torn, my knee messed up, my back and neck sprained a concussion.  It could have all been avoided, if it wasn’t for the careless actions of one person, who is responsible for the pain I am in now.

This was supposed to be the Summer where coach Jennifer Harrison and I worked to see how fast I could be, but instead I am in bed, drugged up and unable to do much of anything.

Because of the severity of my injuries, I haven’t been able to do any kind of physical activity, nothing.  As an athlete you know that is a recipe for disaster, since most of us use our time exercising as a way to re-boot the system, relax and feel good.

Me, I am gaining weight, I am crabby, I am in a constant state of pain and I can’t even play with my kids, because they are too fast (insert joke here about me always being slow).  I am down, really, really down.

I have been told that there is a good chance that I will never run a marathon or an Iron distance race again, I have been told that I need to start to re-think my lifestyle and understand that what used to be could be over forever.

I got into the world of endurance sports as a way to honor the loss of my mother who had passed from cancer and as a way to be a role model for my kids, to prove to them that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Now all of that may be gone.

I am trying to focus on the fact that I am lucky to be alive after such a violent accident. I try to look at people who inspire me like Melissa Stockwell, but at the moment as I sit in a dark room, doped up with pain killers, all I feel is sad and mad.  Mad at the people who put me here, mad knowing that it could have been avoided and mad that I can’t do what I love to do.

The road to health is my new Ironman, it’s a long way to the finish line, but I know I can make it, though I may never be the same, I have a lot to be grateful for and to look forward to.

It is truly one step at a time.


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  • So what you're saying is...I should stop complaining about how hot, muggy, tiring and slow my hilly run today was and be happy that I was able to do it at all.

    Anyway, the doctors are always conservative. Marathons are all about continuing to move forward, one foot after the other. Literally or figuratively, it still applies here.

  • Hang in there Dave! Get healthy, and then? Prove the doctors wrong!!!

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    Lordy. I can only imagine what you are going through. I was really sick earlier this year and started inching on some of the thoughts you've expressed here (not to this extent, but as I said, inching..) Like Daniel said, hang in there.. and prove everyone wrong!

  • Whoa, that's a lot and it looks like a long road ahead for you and your doctors. I hope you are talking to someone because you are going to need a trainer for not just your body but your mind too to get you through such a challenging feat. This is as much a mental recovery as a physical recovery, Godspeed!

  • You have already shown your kids that anything is possible. Show them again by rehabbing well. And when you are done find your new Iron event, whether it is an actual Iron-distance event or 5k's and 10k's. You will continue to inspire your kids. And you will always be an Ironman, no injury takes away that accomplishment.

  • Wishing you a steady, strong recovery. We runners are a crazy bunch, so seriously listen to your doctors and don't push yourself too soon too fast. You will recover. And I will be cheering for you the entire time!

  • Anything is still possible if you believe in yourself; no accident, operation, or recovery can change that. I can't say anything that others have not already said, except that I have always been amazed by your incredible abilities! While watching Dan's story unfurl, and in turn keeping up with your endeavors, I have consistantly been in awe of your ability to perform incredible feats of endurance, whether that be a race or a "leisurely" 2.4 mile swim to test out a wetsuit. That athlete will always be within you. Sure, you have a long road ahead, but I am confident you will be standing atop the "podium" at the end. I sometimes visit this movie clip when I feel like life is beating me down; I hope it will inspire you as well, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z5OookwOoY.

  • Wow, as a fellow marathon runner I empathize. Your are living my worst fear. BUT...we are distance runners, a different breed. No doubt you have the right stuff to fight through this and achieve your goals. We do it, we are long distance runners, we train, we prepare, we keep moving forward, mile by mile....

  • I am not a runner nor an athlete. Never have been. I admire those that are, like yourself, and believe that what you did with this post is possibly as important to your recovery as your physical rehab.

    The qualities and traits that led you to running marathons and endurance sports are the very same qualities and traits that will guide you through this struggle -- both physical and emotional. You are wise to pay attention to the emotions involved here.

    My girl Donna, another lost to cancer, taught me a few things that are relevant to what your going through:
    1. Feel things deeply and then move the hell on. Acknowledge pain and sadness, but never prevent those things from allowing you to acknowledge joy and happiness.
    2. Choosing hope is the only way to live. And when your hopes change, as they inevitably do in life, know that there is always something to strive for, to seek, a new goal. Choose those things that keep you moving forward through all your struggles.
    3. Living in the moment -- both good and bad moments -- will lead you to a full and complete life.

    The things inside you that make you who you are are not gone or damaged. Your tendons are, but not those core traits. Trust in yourself to get through this. Kraft och omtanke and best of luck to you in your recovery. MTM.

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    I am injured too, not to your severity, but I messed up both knees, so I'm not running right now either. I understand how frustrated and upset you are (I have definitely felt bummed and depressed about this whole thing) but I try to see the positive.

    Maybe, once you've healed, maybe you can do something else (ie. swimming)--you never know!! I just try to focus on what can/could be possible...try and think/stay positive. I know it isn't easy. We're all cheering for you!

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