Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's Next
The past ten years have been both extremely difficult and exceptionally rewarding. Despite the fact I am still partially paralyzed and numb in all four extremities (a "walking quad") I am particularly fortunate to have as much function as I do. One of the things I cannot do is run, at least on land. As part of my rehabilitation I have utilized a therapy pool created by a company called Hydroworx. The pool incorporates an integrated treadmill in the floor. Because of the buoyancy created by the water, body weight is decreased, and with the accessible treadmill, I am able to run. In fact, it is one of the rare times that I don't feel paralyzed.
I have used the pool regularly to maintain fitness. Six months ago I felt I needed to do something to recognize the ten years that have passed since my accident; something a bit extraordinary, something that would provide a challenge and goal for me. Given my paralysis, it is all too easy to be reminded of things that I can no longer do. While running in the pool one morning it occurred to me that the pool provided the perfect opportunity for me. Since it allows me to run, I could use it to push myself. I made the decision to run a marathon (yes, 26.2 miles) in the pool.
For the past five months I have been training on a daily basis to make this happen.
On June 13th, 2009, starting at approximately 700am, I will run a marathon in the Hydroworx pool. Not quite a full underwater marathon, since I will be in water up to my chest, yet as far as I know the world’s first “in the water” marathon, certainly for an incomplete quadriplegic.
My goal is to complete the 26.2 miles in 5 1/2 hours which is an average of 12 minutes per mile. Since water is approximately 700 times more dense than air, as one increases speed the amount of resistance increases significantly. As my training has continued, I have gradually been able to maintain higher speeds for longer distances.

In addition to my personal ten year "anniversary", June 13th also marks the five year anniversary of the opening of Neuroworx. ( Neuroworx is a community-based outpatient clinic providing physical therapy and rehabilitative services for individuals with spinal cord injuries and similar conditions of paralysis. It was created in partnership with my physical therapist, Jan Black, and is part of the The Dr. Dale B. Hull Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. It is unique in its focus and approach to spinal cord injury rehabilitation. It is medically-based yet innovative using activity-based rehabilitation techniques to provide opportunites for individuals to maximize and optimize their abilities after injury.

Part of the mission of the Foundation and Neuroworx is to raise funds for specialized equipment and to assist patient's with inadequate funding. If you would like to help with our mission, would you consider a pledge in conjunction with my run. You may pledge an amount per mile (assuming I may not make the 26.2) or a set amount. If you really want to provide an incentive for me, consider doubling your pledge if I can finish under 5.5 hours.

You may pledge by leaving a comment on this blog, emailing or by calling Neuroworx directly at 801-619-3670. Donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this site and for helping us make a difference to those who have experienced the devasting results of spinal cord injuries and paralysis.