July 31, 2009

Running literally saved my life

If you go back in this blog and read forward from May 19, 2004 you'll find out that my wife and I were in a serious auto accident and that I spent three weeks in the ICU, mostly in an induced coma. Twice the doctors called my family in because they didn't think I'd make it. I did make it, and after I left the ICU I went to another hospital for therapy. Each time a new nurse would come into the room, the nurse would say, "So, you're the runner I've heard about". In the months that followed the accident, I had surgery for a double hernia, six months of surgery for 10 Basal Cell skin cancers on my head, and my gall bladder removed. One of the cancers was as big around as a golf ball and 1/4 inch deep. I've had an interesting comeback with my running. Two years after the auto accident I ran the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon.

In the middle of January 2009 I ran 7 miles on Saturday and finished a 23-mile week. Two days later I could only walk 100 feet before I had to sit down and rest. I was attacked by a million blood clots (well not quite that many). I gained about 38 pounds of water-weight from swelling in my legs and thighs. I'm still recovering from those clots, and my weekly mileage currently is 4 1/2 miles, about half walking and half running.

I'm glad to be alive and I'm glad to still be running!

75 comments:

Meg said...

That's neat. Running almost killed me once, due to a snowplow, but I kept at it, proving again that joggers are the toughest, most committed wackos you will ever meet. I have not missed am exercise session in over a year, but then again I am much younger than you and free of the wear and tear injuries that took down some of my high school teammates(I am talking 16 year old's in need of knee surgery for torn this and that's). Your blog looks neat.

latherrinseandrepeat said...

I. Love. You.

Cosmos said...

Congrats for your recovering back by running!

Sarah Perryman said...

It is great that you have been so active. A lot of people give up and never try. Keep it up! You are inspiring those around you every day.

Susie said...

I enjoyed reading some of your posts. Keep up the good work. I have recently returned to running myself. Sometimes I really enjoy it and others, I'd like to just forget it.

Jered said...

I'm glad to be a new follower.

Allen said...

Susie,

I'm blessed that I don't run to set new speed records or to convince myself that I can do it, or to lose weight. I just run because I enjoy it. Here is the first article I read from the running literature, and that article has been my guide to many years of fun as a runner.

2busy said...

You are an inspiration! Congrats on "Blogs of Note".

wwwkwata.blogspot.com said...

inspiring blog, execellent read; congrats!

Greg said...

Great Post!

Anonymous said...

http://www.sportsreviewmagazine.com

Dennis Hilario said...

you're definitely my running inspiration...

radha said...

Congratulations for being the 'blogger of note'. And may your courage continue to inspire many. Wishing you more years of 'running'

The villager: said...

Which running shoes are you currently using, and are you happy with them ?

Singapore Fountain Pen said...

Your story is very inspiring. I do ran myself and also write about it from time to time here. I'm very glad to have found your blog. You truly deserve to be on "Blogs of Note"!

Bob Hale said...

It's great to see a Blog of Note from someone who has something of note to say.
Congratulations.

XeRoZ aka Marshall said...

you're not 'old man' at all! cool!

micha said...

that's how a really runner is! i'm glad that you are ok now!so, i wish your health to ne strong! take care !

Reviewer said...

Sir, I come from Indonesia, and after i read your article, i don't know what to said, my point is you a great.
Regards
Reviewer

Wanda said...

Congrats, Sir! Your blog is chosen as the Blogs of Note on the beginning of August. It is so inspiring.

Regards.

vijitha said...

you are truly an inspiration not just for our generation but also for those people who at the age of 40 start complaining that their body fails them. and congrats on being the blog of note.

Guzma said...

I was reading your posts and I can tell you that you are not just an inspiration, but an also model of a way of life to be followed. Here in Brazil we have a famous quote that says: "I'm Brazilian and I never give up!". You're just like this true living quote :)
I'm happy to have people like you in our world, cause we're needing this! God Speedy!

Nezzy said...

Congratulations on blogger of note and your inspirational story. So glad to hear your are really living your second chance. God Bless and have a wonderful week-end!!!

Allen said...

The Villager,

I use LOCO shoes and I am very satisfied with them. LOCO is a relatively new company that was started by a designer from Nike. The shoes are good, basic shoes without a lot of new frills that some other shoes have. Scroll down my list of categories and click on the Tracking My New Shoes category. I give my current mileage and the two models of shoes that I'm currently using.

Constructive Attitude said...

Good for you!!!!

Mecha M. said...

Good job! Keep it up!

Suecae Sounds said...

I am happy to hear that you are alive and well!

Mr. Patrick said...

I am a passionate runner and reading your blog has inspired me. I have so much respect for what you're doing. It's great to hear about your story and it will certainly keep me going in my running career in my effort to reach my top potential. Keep up the great work!

robison52 said...

You deserve all the accolades, you are definitely one of a kind, I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Ed said...

How do you know water weight?

Allen said...

Ed,

I don't know the details of water weight; I've just heard that it's the most accurate way of determining body fat. Talk to your local gym about the procedure.

Bruce, admiration goes both ways. I've admired you since we first met, 12 or so years ago, on running.about.com You have a focus and discipline that many runners don't have, and I'm sure that discipline carries over into your personal life.

Lucky said...

I'm looking forward to reading your blog. I am writing a running blog too as I train for my first half marathon (it's also my first blog)I hope to learn from your experiences.

MASSY said...

great !!!!!!!

Margarite said...

You Go Geezer! Life is meant to be fun.

E Kalsow said...

I just want to say (like you haven't heard it already) Don't give up. Ever. Remember that especially on the days when everything seems against you. I started running cross country a couple of years ago and couldn't make it a mile without walking. I remember at one particular race a guy walked up to me while I was running and told me to "give up and get off the course" because I was "going to get run over".
Laugh. Smile. Tell them that you never quit because it is so much more than winning and records. Good Job and Good luck!

risa anindita said...

thank you
this blog inspires me

CheNoh said...

Congratulation....

Joe Engressia said...

hmm, You are amazing, keep on Sir..

♪KathleeN♪ said...

Wow, you had some serious injuries, but I'm glad you kept doing what you loved...

it'd be awesome if anyone who reads this could check out my blog...

http://blogfromthebeginning.blogspot.com/

thanks :D

xoxo.

indrablog said...

Your story is one of strength. It's inspirational. Keep going.

Chris Stoner said...

Jazz Music is never die…are you like..?
That is Special Jazz Song For You…


UNFORGETTABLE…..( Nat King Cole)

Unforgettable, thats what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more


Unforgettable, in every way
And forevermore, (and forevermore)
Thats how youll stay, (thats how youll stay)
Thats why darling its incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too

No, never before has someone been more

Ooh unforgettable, (unforgettable)
In every way, (in every way)
And forevermore, (and forevermore)
Thats how youll stay, (thats how youll stay)
Thats why darling its incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too

Pat Hiban said...

Rock On!!!
I hope at your age I'm still getting the goods. Take it easy, your body is talking to you. I recently hiked Camelback Mountain and met an 89 year old holocaust survivor who hiked it twice a day!!
Pat

Anonymous said...

Uncle Allen you are truly an inspiration! I have recently started running more and I will have to keep you in mind for motivation.

Theresa said...

you are a true inspiration.

jali blog said...

hopefully stay healthy,blog walking

Anonymous said...

You rock! Most people could only hope to do half as much as you at 73 :) Keep on running!

silent91 said...

awesome!!!

PenulisBebas said...

way to go mister!
your story is so inspirational...
all the best, and keep inspiring us! ;)

p/s: stumbled upon ur site from Blogger's Blogs of Note. would like to invite u to my blog, but it's in another language... :)

BaLeigh's Organic Produce Buyers Club said...

Keep it up, you inspire me.

sharronw52@gmail.com said...

Regarding the breathing - presuming they've melted the blood clots (clopidogrel is very good I believe as a preventive)- has anyone checked you out for congestive heart failure (ineffective pumping of the heart, they would probably need to do a deep vein assessment of oxygen in the blood). Hope you get better soon (or I'd be asking them to get me to a specialist to check it out) so you can enjoy your running again!

Chatty and Patty said...

keep it up. your story is inspiring.approaching sixty its as much as i can do to WAlk half that distance.

Kevin Reiner said...

keep running sir! i'm 15 and when reaching 200 m, i'm as good as dead. :|

KyonSOS said...

I shy when met you.If i run like you I maybe stronger but I have pretense always for not running.

Maxcess said...

You are inspirational. Thank you.

A.K. said...

I needed the inspiration to begin running; you just gave in to me. Thanks

Wayne said...

... and I'm glad you're alive and sharing. Cool runnings dude!

veeramaniyan said...

sir, amazing to read your achievement in your life. you are my inspiration reg. up keep body wealth.

MeanDonnaJean said...

Ya say ya've been runnin' for 36 years, while MY tired ol' fat ass can't even run for 36 seconds!

Well then, may God bless ya, ol' man....'n after all I've just read here, I do believe He sure 'nuff HAS.

Keep up the inspirin' stuff.

Tyler said...

You are Amazing

Jason D. Mills said...

As a fellow fan of health and running, I have to say: your story is just amazing. I'm glad I noticed the "blogger of note". Your optimism and drive is absolutely incredible. I am so happy for you sir!!

SWCC said...

So awesome man! I wish I could get back to being as active as you!

Charlotte said...

Wow - you are a great inspiration!! And, good for you that you're continuing on despite all your challenges.

P.S. I checked out one of your previous posts too: oatmeal is another way you can help lower your cholesterol, and should not interfere with your coumadin therapy. Happy running!

John Bryson said...

How do you have the energy to type?

Allen said...

John Bryson,

My philosophy of running is to stop when you're still feeling good and would like to keep on going. Those who run until they are really tired are foolish. This article has been my guide to running.

Charlotte,

I eat oatmeal almost every day. I prefer natural and organic things instead of red meat, sugar, and high glycemic things. My total cholesterol was 182 at my last checkup. My problem is that my good cholesterol is low and my bad cholesterol is high. Hence, my taking 4 grams of fish oil per day and 125 mg of Niacin per day.

Allen said...

SWCC, you can if you really want to. It's up to you. Your decision.

MeanDonnaJean,

After you've had a good ride on your bike, get off and walk for a few minutes. Don't run, just walk. And, stop while you still feel good. Getting really tired from exercising means you've done too much.

Pat Hiban,

I lived in Phoenix for 12 years and one year in Tucson. I never climbed Camelback, but I did climb the peak just west of Camelback. The one next to the road connecting 32nd Street and Northern Avenue.

Chris Stoner,

Ahhh, I love Nat King Cole. My wife and I saw him in concert in Washington, DC during the first year after our marriage, 46 years ago.

Lucky,

Take your time in running your first half marathon. You have your whole life ahead of you, so don't rush into it. Give your body lots of time to adjust to that distance. I ran for 8 years before I ran my first marathon, and I had a wonderful time. No pain, no soreness, and I was back on the roads two days later and ran half a mile. At the end of that week I was up to 1 1/2 miles. After a month I was back to my normal mileage of 45 miles. Read this article about training not to just finish your half marathon but to adjust to the distance and stress, too.

Don said...

I've been running off and on for the past 20 years. Just took a few months off to heal up from an injury. Tomorrow I am going to get back out there and get going again. Thank You for the motivational push to get going again.

mina said...

you are amazing & an inspiration.

Slomohusky said...

Put me down for the Bob Hale comment as well. Thanks for sharing.

Alison said...

I love your post! I was in an auto accident in April and am still home healing from it. I have just started jogging (very slowly and short distances) with my PT doctors and love it!! I plan to keep it up and look forward to reading your blog!!

Mistress of My Domain said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences and being an inspiration. I love your spirit and dedication...keep going as long as you will...all the best to you!

bisovi said...

keep going to run old man

jigslucy said...

Congratulations on your blog of note. Great that you can keep on going.

Allen said...

A.K.,

Just take it easy when you start. Don't push yourself. Here is a link on getting started.

Don,

You haven't done a lot of running for the past 20 years, and my suggestion is to consider yourself a beginner and take it easy. Read the page I linked above on beginning a running program. Pain is not normal. It is a sign from your body that you're doing too much. Follow the 10% rule and the heavy/light rule in your running. This page explains those two rules.

Chatty and Patty,

Don't even try to walk half the distance I go. Just walk at a comfortable pace so you don't huff and puff or get sore throats, a pace that allows you to talk to your walking companions. Make small increases in your distance, not more than once a week, and stay at each new distance until you feel comfortable with it. Walk at least three times a week. If you walk more than that, alternate between your normal distance (heavy stress) and a distance about half of the heavy distance (light stress). Your body needs at least 48 hours to recover from heavy stress. Walking and running actually destroy body cells. During the rest that follows a heavy stress, your body recovers by rebuilding the body cells. Thus, be sure you get enough rest. By rest I mean light stress compared to the heavy stress, such as light swimming or cycling, walking a shorter distance, or a day without abnormal walking.

Allen said...

Alison,

You've got the right idea to go slow and for short distances. Even better would be to walk for a while before you jog, and when you do jog, just mix small amounts of jogging with your walking. Take a look at my beginners page to get some ideas to consider.


John Bryson again,

I do have to admit that I do get tired sometimes after a run. Never too tired to blog because typing doesn't take a lot of energy and I enjoy it. Sometimes, when I have to mow my lawns after I run, I put off the mowing until evening when it is cooler or even the next day.

Allen said...

Alyse,

Nice to hear from you! How is school at USU? You must be close to graduating. What are your plans after that? The next time you walk past Old Main, have a moment of silence for Aunt Judy and myself. We both have lots of memories of our years in Logan.

I didn't run when I was a student there, but I walked 8-10 miles every day just going from my apartment to the Engineering building and back each day (two trips per day). That plus the 90 miles I hiked in the summer of 1955 when I worked at the north rim of Grand Canyon, and the "millions" of miles I walked as a missionary in West Virginia and Tennessee. I was in such good condition that the long marches during my Army Basic Training were a piece of cake. Then I got a car and stopped walking. After a few years of that, my feet started to hurt, and I started running to strengthen my feet.

So, I was pleased when you said you wanted to do more running. Just be careful if you go out alone. Lots of kooks out there.