An Athlete Gets Back on her Feet

Karen Chávez post-Asheville Marathon.

Yesterday, Karen Chavez wrote a heart-wrenching article in the Asheville Citizen-Times about her three-year struggle to get back on her feet, literally.

Karen, the outdoor editor of the Citizen-Times and a committed runner, started having serious pain in her left foot. She went to several doctors, including an orthopedist who removed a tendon in her big toe. Though the doctor claimed that she would be back at work in two weeks, she had serious problem and continues to have serious, permanent pain. The doctore gave up on her case after five months. He told her that she would never run again. He was wrong about that too.

Karen persevered, found other medical help and a diagnosis – RSD. She’s living with a lot of pain and medication but she’s back running. And Sunday, while I was out doing a (wimpy) 8-mile hike at Bent Creek, she ran in the Biltmore Estate marathon. She didn’t win but she ran all the way and finished. Way to go, Karen!

She writes well, if I’m always in pain, I might as well run.

What makes one person with such extreme problems run over 26 miles while others, many more others, blame their bad backs, knees or feet for their inactivity? The big difference is that Karen was very active before her medical problems. Most people who try to find excuses for their lack of exercise were never serious about exercise in the fist place.

Why do I hear so much “I can’t hike because I have bad knees”? Any healthy person can walk 6 to 8 miles a day and enjoy it. Yes, you will be tired and sweaty and even sore the next day but so what! Jane Fonda’s No pain, no gain philosophy of exercise is still true. A few minutes around the block is not going to do much good.

The whole article is here but with the Citizen-Times you never know if you’ll be able to get it on the web. [I got the picture of Karen off the Citizen-Times website.]

Instead get out and walk and run.

Karen, I’m so glad you wrote openly about your situation. But most of all, I’m so glad that you’re back running.

Go, Karen, Go.

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