On October 15, 2011, I participated in my very first Spartan Race, the Midwest Sprint. Iíve been participating in sports for as long as I can remember and Iíve had some experience running a few obstacle course races before, so I thought I was prepared for this race. About a mile in I knew I was in for one of the most difficult races I have ever done. It was 4.5 miles of gnarly terrain plus obstacles that included 8ft wall climbs, 40lb sand bag carries, mud crawls, and fire jumping. When I crossed that finished line completely exhausted, I was hooked. I couldnít wait to do my next Spartan Race. Unfortunately the reality of my situation hit me like the sand bag I had carried as my right knee pain was just too much for me to consider doing yet another Spartan Race.
Three days later, Dr. Cole performed my scheduled right knee microfracture. I woke up in the recovery room and remember hearing that there was not 1 articular cartilage defect in my knee but 2 and microfracture was done at both sites. It wasnít exactly what I wanted to hear, but my faith was in Dr. Cole and his staff. I knew I was in good hands and the only thing I could do was move forward.
The first few months post surgery were tough, not so much physically, but more mentally. I spent my life being active and having to slow my activities to an almost literal crawl was hard. Iím sure I drove Dr. Cole and his P.A.s Kyle & Natalie nuts with all my questions and e-mails. But I will tell you, every question I had, and every e-mail I sent was answered in record time. I canít say enough about how much that meant to me and my recovery. I canít thank them all enough for being Ďavailableí and taking time to show that they really do care.
I put in a lot of time and hard work, dedicating myself to getting back to where I was before my injury, if not better. Throughout the entire year long process, there was always one thing in the back of my mind Ė would I be able to do another Spartan Race again? There were times that I seriously questioned if I would even be able to run again, much less participate in an obstacle course race. If it wasnít for the support and encouragement from everyone in Dr. Coleís office, Iím not sure I would have been able to deal with the whole recovery/rehabilitation process.
Iím happy to say that on October 11th I was finally given a clean bill of health and told I could move forward with my normal activities. The only thing that was on my mind was participating in the next Spartan Race, the Midwest Super. So on October 27th, I laced up my shoes, joined my friends at the starting line and raced with nothing but my heart. I finished the 8 to 9 mile course in just over 3 hours. Three weeks later, I found myself at the starting line at another Spartan Race. This time it was at the first ever Fenway Spartan Race Time Trials inside of historic Fenway Park in Boston. This once in a lifetime opportunity allowed me to climb a cargo net along the Green Monster, carry a 70lb sandbag throughout the outfield bleachers, do burpees on the warning track in center field, and do box jumps in the Red Sox dugout.
It really is amazing how much difference a year can make. I have already started training for my next race season which currently includes 7 obstacle course races.
None of this would have been possible if it wasnít for Dr. Cole, his staff, and everyone at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. While dealing with injuries and surgery is never something anyone wants to have to go through, it does happen, and I would never trust my care with anyone else.
Thank you for EVERYTHING!
If you are looking for some information on Obstacle Course Racing, here are some good sites. but I warn you, once you do 1 event you will be hooked:
There are various other well-known Obstacle Course Races that are held in the Chicago area too including: Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Gladiator Assault Challenge, Down & Dirty, Hero Rush, GoRuck, SERE, and a few others.
Here are a few of my images from the Midwest Super Spartan Race and the Fenway Spartan Race.