Thursday, September 24, 2015


"Everybody has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."

Mike Tyson

There are a lot of philosophers out there. A lot of people who preach and pretend to be experts on human nature, but the great sage, Mike Tyson, sums it up as well as any Ivory Tower egghead.

After a 3:04 performance at the 2013 Boston Marathon, I was inspired. At an age when many runners are reduced to jogging, I was still able to focus in on the sub-3:00 standard.

Two weeks after Boston, I tripped on the sidewalk and tore two hamstring tendons.


Punch in the mouth.

After two years of humbling rehabilitation, I began to train and race at near my pre-injury level.

In August, two days prior to the Tom Ausherman 5-Miler in Chambersburg, I felt a stiffness in my knee. I ran the race in a fairly good time. The next day I had difficulty walking, and two weeks ago I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus.

Bam and bam again.

I feel as though my jaw should be wired shut.

If you're reading this blog, you're probably serious about running. If you are, one thing's for certain. At sometime in your running career, you're going to get "punched in the mouth.

Early this summer, a very good friend was training at an extraordinary level. Father Chris Zelonis had qualified for the Boston Marathon, and was poised to smash the 3-hour mark by a lot.

While on a routine training run in San Antonio, he was hit by a car, which run over his foot, causing significant damage and requiring him to receive stitches, both on the outside and internally.

He will still be going to Boston, but he has been forced to adapt and adjust his training plans.

Before I receive arthroscopic surgery, I will try to allow my knee to heal on its own. Therefore, I can be seen in the gym, frantically pedaling on the elliptical, and lifting weights in order to strengthen leg muscles. Next, I'm afraid I'll be doing the Richard Simmons workout.

When you "Get punched in the mouth," and your training takes a hit, take a deep breath, place things into perspective, and adapt accordingly. Since my run of injuries, I look around, especially at folks near my ripe old age, and realize that, in the larger scheme of life, my injury problems are not all that bad.

When you are injured, or forced to the sidelines for any reason, do what you need to do in order to heal. You may need to walk, ride a bike, or swim. Don't make the mistake I have made by trying to run BEFORE you are fully healed.

Time, patience, and adaptability will heal most running wounds.

If you follow that formula, when you get punched in the mouth, you'll rise from the canvas and resume the fight.

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