Running with Ruth

Stories that Inspire & Motivate...Not for New Runners Only! By Ruth Gursky


Recovery Took 5 Painful Months...

Chapter 5: I'm Back…With a Vengeance!
Article 1:
Recovery Took 5 Painful Months…But who's counting?

For those of you who've kept up with my goings-on (or lack thereof), you'll recall that in mid-April, I fell on a cracked sidewalk while walking in my neighborhood. And in the split second that it took me to be propelled to the ground, I broke a few bones, ripped some tendons and ligaments, and dramatically changed my spring and summer plans.

Instead of running local races in Central Park, coaching my beloved "speed-challenged" Galloway marathon group and training for a handful of summer and fall ½ marathons, I was forced into an intensive physical therapy and home exercise program in the hope that, I would regain the strength, flexibility and stamina required to run ½ marathons once again.

Well, I'm extremely pleased to report that almost 5 months to the date of my accident, I ran my first tentative steps on the treadmill, under the watchful eyes of my physical therapist! WOW! It felt terrific…and only somewhat painful! My quads reported in, almost immediately, telling me that they weren't prepared for this exertion. My hips said they were of out whack. My ankles didn't appreciate the jarring. And even my "good" knee chimed in with a painful "don't forget about me." But amazingly, my knees held up and my running form was aligned and balanced (according to my therapist). And after observing me run/walk, using the tried-and-true Galloway training method, for about 10 minutes, I received the long-awaited "go-ahead" to return to running, the one sport that truly enhances the quality of my life.

So, I'm back…with a vengeance!

As I continue in physical therapy on a once-weekly basis (down from 5x/week), I've also reconnected with the personal trainer whose TLC rehabbed me 20 years ago, when I initially injured my right knee. And I'm hopeful that with my team at my side, I will work out the kinks that remain in my injured knees, elbow, shoulder and wrist, and rebuild my strength and endurance to the level it was before that horrendous day in April.

And in the category of hitting someone while she's already down (which we all know isn't a nice thing to do), when I was recovering this summer, and feeling quite down and sorry for myself, I received an invitation to join AARP, the senior citizens' support organization. Was "big brother" watching me limp along with a cane borrowed from my 85-year-old neighbor? Do the "powers-that-be" think I'm ready for Shady Pines? Needless to say, that was one letter that hit the infamous circular file without passing go!

So, as I struggle to regain the mindset of an athlete and dedicate myself to getting back to race-ready shape, I'm gonna do my best to block that misdirected missive from my memory banks…although, admittedly, it was somewhat hard to do today, on this glorious fall day, as I ran my first mile along the West Side Highway. Just me, some younger runners training for the NYC Marathon or jogging for their health, and a few gray-haired retired couples - all of us, enjoying this new pedestrian walkway, the fresh city air and vista views of NJ's new Hudson River skyline.

Guess they're all "my peops" now: young and old, marathoner and stroller. Now, which group I belong in…?!