One Bad Mudder Runner

30 Jul

photo (9)Three days ago, I completed my first mud run….a 5k here in NJ. As a runner, I run 5k’s 10k’s and half marathons all the time so you can imagine my surprise when I got to the mud run and saw that it really had NOTHING to do with running. Sure, there were SPOTS where you were supposed to run… 1/8th of a mile here, 1/16th of a mile there. So what was it all about? Well, 26 military obstacles over a 3.1 mile course of waist deep mud, sludge, water and obstacles that pushed my body to it’s limit. I finished it. I tore my legs up, I almost cried after jumping into a 6′ deep dumpster of ice and yet here I am smiling at the finish line.

I only THOUGHT I was in shape before I did this mud run. I can run 13.1 miles without stopping. I can race a 5k in 25 minutes but when it comes to carrying your own body weight up and OVER an 8′ wall, well that it a totally different ball of wax.

I am glad I did it and can cross that off my bucket list. It was challenging, exciting, invigorating and exhausting. It’s like giving birth….when someone asks me how my labor and delivery was, I forget the 12 hours of excruciating pain and only remember the exhilarating feeling after my children were born. I wonder if I’ll feel that way next year when it’s time to sign up again for the mud run? Hmmmmm.


On The Road Again…..

16 May

After almost four weeks without being able to run, having to wear a boot and go to physical therapy, my Achilles has just about healed. My doctor gave me the go-ahead to run again. My mind wanted to run “an easy 6” this morning but of course, my body had other plans.

I hit the road at 5:20 this morning. The birds were chirping and the sun was stretching up over the horizon. With my ear buds in, I ran…… It was slow and not totally pain free, but it was beautiful. I forgot how much I missed running. Well, truthfully, I didn’t forget since I missed it terribly this past month, but my body missed it. The elliptical machine, stationary bike and weights didn’t cut it for me. For me, nothing is more stress relieving and peaceful than an outdoor run in the early morning. I ran for 30 minutes and shortened my stride (as my sports medicine doctor suggested) and kept my pace slow.

I know it will take some time to come back to running 13 miles without a problem (or a pain) but I will do it. Our bodies are amazing mechanisms. It doesn’t forget what it has once done and it easily does it again with proper training – but not over training of course because that’s what tore the Achilles in the first place.

I’m feeling grateful today for logging a run into my calendar and look forward to the next one. My sanity and peace depend upon it.


Run on my friends.


Patience is….. a virtue?

1 May

I partially tore my Achilles heal….it happened months ago but I continued to run, chalking the discomfort up to over training and just a sore muscle. I finally went to the sports medicine doctor and after xrays and an ultrasound, he immediately put me in a boot. 18 days later… running, no real cardio (except biking), the boot came off yesterday!! Can I get an AMEN?!!! 

My doctor said that he was shocked that I followed directions so religiously. He said that I was “three weeks ahead” of where he expected me to be. I was THRILLED to say the least. Physical Therapy 3 days a week, keeping the boot on at all times (except when I slept and showered) all paid off. The tear has almost healed entirely and I am two weeks out from running again. I can walk, bike and do the elliptical machine now. Breaking a sweat is once again a beautiful thing. I had to bow out (not so gracefully) from a half marathon last weekend but I know that it was the correct decision. A partially torn Achilles can heal in 1-6 weeks. A ruptured Achilles will not. 

I’ve never been a good direction follower….in fact, I get lost using my GPS because I always think, “no, that can’t be right. I must turn right HERE, not THERE.” This time around, I listened: to my doctor, to my body and to God who all told me that if I wanted to be running again SOON, I must rest. 

There are thousands of races every year but I only have one body.

Listen and learn…..

Run on my friends.


19 Apr

As I sit here with a big, bulky boot on my partially torn Achilles heel, I think of how grateful I truly am….not that I’m not able to run, but rather because I WILL be able to run again soon. With the events in Boston on April 15th, there are those who will never run again. There are those who will never hug their loved ones again. There are those who are no longer on this earth and who will never develop into the beautiful humans they were born to become because they were so savagely taken from the streets of Boston in a senseless act of cowardice. Of course, there are others who have their own thoughts and opinions on the events but, as a runner, a mother, a wife and an American, this hit close to home for me.

Many times I’ve crossed a finish line with my arms up, feeling proud and grateful for my accomplishment: that God gave me the strength and ability to run. Once this boot comes off my leg, my next finish line will be not about me or my accomplishment. Instead, from here on, it will always be in honor and memory of those innocent victims of April 15th, 2013. I am a runner. I am proud. I am strong and you should be to. We shall not be afraid to run. We shall not be afraid to cross our next finish line. We will not be stopped – as runners and as Americans.

My next half marathon would have been this Sunday in Rutgers, NJ. I was asked “if you weren’t injured, would you go and run?” Without hesitation, I said “ABSOLUTELY”….. and I meant it.

God bless this country and all of the wonderful people, the first responders and those who help.


RUN ON MY FRIENDS….. JUST DO with each other

Runner’s Disappointment

13 Apr

I am supposed to run a half marathon next Sunday. 10 days prior to the race, I went to my sports medicine doctor to get a sore toe checked on. I casually mentioned to him, after he checked the toe, that my left Achilles heel has been really tight after every run for about 9 months now. NINE MONTHS. He felt the heel, looked right into my eyes and said “Laura, you have an Achilles tear and I won’t know how significant it is until we do an ultrasound and take some xrays.” Of course, at this time, in my head all I heard was “Achilles tear” and then “yadda, yadda, yadda” because my brain said “you are running next weekend. You are fine. You are going to crush your PR and then you’ll ice your leg.”

The next morning, I found myself back in his office (after a 5 mile run) and I had the ultrasound and xrays. The ultrasound confirmed a longitudinal Achilles tear. Again, I felt like it was all OK because hadn’t I been running on it for months without significant problems? I mean, what runner doesn’t have a sore Achilles every once in a while? The doctor said “I’m not telling you not to run but you need to know that it’s a 50/50 chance that your Achilles will rupture during or after a long run. Maybe you’re in that lucky 50% since you HAVE been running on it for months. I would suggest starting physical therapy right away and see how you feel next weekend for the race.”

Ok, then. I was going to go to PT next week 3x and then be all set to run on Sunday. Ironically, the Achilles doesn’t really hurt that much when I run. Maybe I’m used to the “pinging” feeling during the first few miles but after the first few, it feels great. Maybe I AM in the 50% that won’t rupture.

Fast forward one more day. Yesterday morning came, I take a slower 50 minute run and now that I know about the tear, I’m thinking about every little leg ache wondering “is this it? Will this be when my leg goes out? Nah, I’m fine. It will all be OK.” I’m tight and sore after the run and an hour later, receive a phone call from my doctor’s nurse: “Ms. Laura? The doctor wants you to come in to the office today and be fitted for a boot. You will have to wear it for two weeks while you do physical therapy and then come back for a follow up.” I was stunned. What is she talking about? My response was one of denial and what came out of my mouth sounded like an addict. “Well, I have a half marathon next Sunday, so I am going to run it and then I’ll come in and get the boot next Monday, OK? You can have the doctor call me later.”

“The doctor is right here,” she said. She put him on the line.

“Laura, your Achilles tear is much more significant that originally thought. It is a large longitudinal tear in the critical zone of the Achilles. I need to let you know that the risk involved in running your race is great. There’s a 75% chance that it will rupture fully if you run on it. You should really be booted for a few weeks and give it time to begin to scar up and heal.”

Do you remember the teacher in the “Charlie Brown” shows that sounded like “Whaa, Whaa, Whaa?”  That’s basically what I heard after he said “75% chance of rupture.”

I am a runner. It’s my sport. It’s my therapy. It’s what I LOVE to do and hearing this news was like a kick in the stomach from my arch nemesis. I actually thought about not listening to the doctor and just pray that I’m one of the lucky ones in that 25% that will sail through this injury and not have anything bad happen. It crossed my mind and I sat in denial for about 3 hours before showing up at my doctor’s office, crying and getting fitted for a big, bulky black boot – no, they look nothing like Uggs.

I am a runner but I’m not invincible. I have gone through denial, anger, fear and disappointment all within the past 24 hours but tonight, I am at acceptance. Knowing that a full rupture would require surgery, months of PT and no running at all for a very long time, I’m willing to take a few weeks off and do as told.

I will be thinking of my friends on race day next weekend and looking forward to when I run my next one – stronger, healthier and free from pain.

Run on my friends.


6 Apr

Two weeks until the half marathon I will be running. I just returned from 12 days down in Florida where I was able to run outside almost everyday. The warmer weather, the sun, the road….they all helped me feel like I could run 26.2 miles on a few mornings. Of course, 8 would have to do since the family was waiting for me to hit the beach!!

Coming back to COLD, NJ made me, once again feel tight, sore and just tired. I guess the warm weather can do wonders for my sore Achilles and tight hamstrings. This morning ,I hit the road with the anticipation of getting 8 miles under my belt. Feeling tired and cold at first, I pushed on, knowing that the first few miles are always the hardest for me. Today, I didn’t feel strong until mile 4 and I continued to focus on my breathing and the sun shining over the horizon. Mile 6 came and went. Mile 8 came and went and I finished strong at 10 miles.

Yes, the half marathon is going to be fun and inspiring. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it and then I love it some more. I feel so strong at the finish line and always say “why did you doubt yourself?”

We are ALL capable of much more than we ever think we are.

Run on, my friends.

If you still look cute


7 Mar

I love to run….I also love to write. I have two children’s books currently out on the market now and I have been visiting elementary schools, reading to the kids and signing some copies. This is something (in addition to running) that I find such joy in. I find that I’m making a difference in a child’s life when I read to them and when I see their eyes light up at my surprise ending or at the tone of my voice.

Last week, I was reading to over 60 second graders and the room was SILENT. Really. You could have heard a pin drop. When in the world could you possibly be in a room with 60 children and not hear them talking? It was a real moment for me. After my reading, they asked questions about the book, about the illustrations, about my personal life….you name it, they asked it.

When I opened my mailbox yesterday, there was a large manila envelope addressed to me. Opening it up, I found a bound “book” of thank you notes and drawings from EACH AND EVERY child in attendance at my reading. They all wrote what they liked about the book and then drew a picture of their favorite part of the book. I was stunned and humbled at the thoughtfulness that went into creating this fine piece of art/literature. I am going to keep it forever as a reminder of the slight difference that one person can make in another person’s life – especially in the life of a child.

You might say that running and writing make it all ok. I tell the kids to “keep reading.” I tell my friends to “keep running.” Today, I tell myself to keep pursuing my dreams of doing them both. There are no limits, only limitations that I put on myself.