I’ve led this event since the beginning.
I start training for the JAG 28 Memorial Birthday Walk each Jan or Feb. Since I stay active throughout the year, I’m mostly concerned with prepping my feet and hips. Fortunately I’ve never had an injury during this event–from 30 up to 36 miles, I think it’s b/c I always train.
In fact, I always felt like I had an extra push each year on event day. I contribute that mostly to the energy from everyone–they are there b/c they chose to be, not out of obligation. Why would someone choose to walk this distance continually, even coming from many miles and states away? It’s b/c they want to honor my brother Mark and support his foundation.
This year was no different. I started walking with my trusty 20 lb weight plate in my GR2 in January. Then, when social distancing hit in mid-March, even better–I got to get in a quick few miles during the middle of the day. I even started playing tennis with a local high school player. He’s good and I really enjoyed playing with him.
Then, on March 21, I went for a forehand. When I pushed with my left foot, “POP” and I hit the ground probably sounding like a wounded wild animal. Ironic how I was going on earlier with him about staying active and feeling young…
At first I thought someone had hit me with a bat. As I was falling to the ground, I confirmed no one was behind me. My next thought was my lower leg snapped, like a Tyrone Prothro moment, but I quickly felt and knew it was my third option–achilles. I cringe every time I think about it happening.
Crutches, scooter, peg leg and shower seat
These last almost two months have been interesting–I use a shower seat, hobble around and watched my wife do the weed-eating and edging. Yard work has always been my job.
I had surgery April 9. My achilles is healing just fine and I got my final cast off last week. I can now put a little weight on it and will progress daily until I use no crutches by the end of the month.
Since I can’t walk, I won’t be doing Mark’s birthday walk this year. That’s tough to accept. But, my plan is to get ready for next year’s walk. In fact, I have a GoRuck Star Course event in Huntsville in Oct that I have to get ready for. It’s 26 miles.
For all my friends that will be walking in Mark’s honor Saturday, I say thank you. You’ll be all over the country and I look forward to the pictures. Thank you for continuing to support Mark’s foundation even when things are virtual. I hope this makes it easier for many more to participate.
For those who want to sign up and walk the JAG 28 Memorial Birthday Walk, go to this link and sign up. Then, post pictures on social media Saturday.