Tyrone Slarken - from Injury to BQ
It was 7:00 a.m. Friday August 29, 2010; right before the Labor Day weekend. I was doing a fast tempo run around the outside of Prospect Park. Near Lincoln Road I tripped and *fell hard onto my left side. I tried to move, but the pain was excruciating. *A nurse on her way to work saw me sprawled on the sidewalk and called *911 - and my wife. The EMT’s arrived about 20 minutes later, and took me *to the Kings County trauma unit. I had a broken hip; one clean break in the *upper femur. I was operated on soon afterwards; a metal pin was inserted *in my leg connected to the bone with titanium screws.
After the operation the surgeon (a marathon runner himself) told me the *operation went very well. He said I could start running again in six months. *I left the hospital the next day, and the day after that I was at work. I used a walker to get around. I went to physical therapy three times a week before work, and the other days I did the therapy exercises on my own at home. In a couple of months I graduated to a cane, and I could go to the gym and take spinning classes. After a few weeks I didn’t need the cane, and I could walk on the treadmill, and around the park. I was cleared for running after the six months of rehab; I ran a couple of races in March-and I strained my hamstring. Six weeks more of spinning and walking, but it became clear what my running goal would be. I wanted to qualify for Boston again.
A fall 2011 marathon could qualify me for 2013 - when I would be 65-meaning a qualifying time of 4:10 - but I knew with the new qualifying procedures I had to run under four hours to make sure I got in. I followed Brad Hudson’s masters plan – three running workouts a week and one or two spinning classes plus weight and core training on off-days.
I ran a 1:49:43 half-marathon four weeks before my goal marathon - ING Hartford in October - so I had a decent shot at it - but I still had to do it.
Marathon day weather was good with temperatures in the 50’s. I stayed behind the 3:55 pacer for 22 miles, feeling pretty good. Then, suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so good. The mind was fine; the arms were pumping - but I felt like someone had tied 10 pound weights to my legs - and I was slowing dramatically. Every time someone passed me, and it happened quite a bit, I was afraid it was the 4:00 pacer passing me. It felt like the grim reaper was stalking me. But I kept on going (though I did not want to).
I crossed the finish line in 3:57:58. I was the happiest guy in the world. My journey was complete. The story of the broken hip was over. I was just a runner again.
Figuring out how I could run a little faster next time; maybe I should take Tony’s class again; maybe I could get a PR; a new age group for 2012; just a runner again. And it feels great.