Thursday, February 17, 2005

Rabbit Roy?

Imagine a knee so screwed up, pieces of cartilage, about the size of a quarter, float around freely, unattached, in the joint's fluids, occasionally surfacing in the kneecap -- and which need to be excised. This happens about as often as the rest of us get flu shots. A knee permanently bloated with godknowswhat. A knee that hasn't straightened for over a decade. A knee protected from bone-on-bone scraping by the last sliver of cartilage, about the thickness of a ply of Charmin.

That's Roy's knee, and he now tells me this morning that he's in. In for the 26.2 mile lap around Chicago in October. And no, despite having the most deranged knee you've ever seen, he's not in the wheelchair division.

This, of course, may not be the greatest idea. But this is a guy running a nuclear power plant, so hey -- who am I to judge. But still, reasonable people will ask, Why take the risk? Have you lost your mind? Well, I suppose it's a little hard to fathom, unless you've been running for 25 years and now sorely miss the regularity of it all. So, you pick your moments and take your chances. Roy, also 52, after reading this blog yesterday, decided to pick Chicag04 and join Kurt and me. No, his orthopod is probably not onboard. Actually, the orthopod wants to replace the knee, or at least a major section of it. So Roy's thinking is, if it's a throw-away part anyway, well...

Roy believes he can super-strengthen the knee in the gym for the next 16 weeks, run through the summer, and give it a go. He's done it before. Back in '96 (see post Boston '96), the knee was a globe of excess fluids and adrift cartilage chunks, but strong enough to leave me halfway up Heartbreak Hill and squeeze out a 3:59:52. Planning is everything. Since then, he's also finished a hilly San Francisco and a couple Disneys, basically on one good leg.

Okay, so he ain't no bullet-train anymore (PB 3:14, back in the First Boom, in '83). But if I breakdown, damn good chance Roy -- if he can just get to the startline -- will be there to pace my mid-life-crising brother Kurt to his sub-four.

Backup has arrived.....

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