Thursday, April 30, 2015

Did Not Start

Three little letters - DNS - and how they sting. My dream of six months is dashed by a strained medial collateral ligament. Five hundred miles of solo training on dark streets in cruel conditions for the privilege of running the toughest course in Manitoba only to be robbed by a wobbly knee. Spruce Woods 50 k was to be my first trail ultra and the most difficult physical challenge of my life. It was to be a run in the woods with some of the most stalwart athletes in the country.


MCL injuries are not typical for runners.  They're more common in contact sports such as football and soccer where the athlete takes a lateral blow to the knee. I took a nasty tumble in Assiniboine Forest several weeks ago and landed hard on both knees.  As I lay face planted on the still frozen ground I did the three point check; bones, blood, ego... check, check, check.  I limped for a while but the pain passed and I ran another 8 miles home. My knee felt sore but okay.  It got progressively worse, then a little better, and then really bad to the point where it kept me awake at night.  It's a dull pain now. It feels as though my knee is locked and lateral motion hurts like the dickens.

I won't be dancing anytime soon.

I was to run the course for my friend Jo who is diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma brain cancer. I was to don an ugly pink tee shirt with F*ck Brain Cancer penned on the back with a black sharpie. I was to buzz cut my hair.  I was to suffer and hurt, sweat and cry to show my solidarity with Jo. I was to run the last kilometre emotively. I was to cross the finish line with pride. I was to run with purpose. I was to run for life. I was to become an ultra-marathoner.

The start line is always my first goal, the finish line remains a distant second.


Nuff said.  "Too much drama" my friend Tim would say, "Move on to the next challenge."

And I will.

To you amazing athletes running Spruce Woods next weekend know that I am brimmed full of admiration for each and everyone one of you.  You are tough mothers and brothers, fathers, and sisters. Remain steadfast in your goals. Run with purpose. Run with emotion. Run like the wind. Listen for your heart.  Feel your body. Reach out for the finish line.

Just run like hell.

It's a good day to be alive.