Gotta’ Run: Now I’m hoping to run again!

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 25, 2024

Last week, I wrote about how to handle a slump in your exercise performance, of course having no idea that I would experience a serious farm accident last Wednesday afternoon. The result of the accident, a fall from a farm tractor’s front-end loader, has reset my priorities and refocused my attention.

Last Wednesday had been a near perfect day, beginning with a United Way volunteer appreciation breakfast at Landis Elementary School. Then, one of my favorite annual activities was completed with the 2024 version of the Special Olympics Torch Run from south Salisbury to Spencer that totaled about 5.9 miles. A nice late breakfast at Hendrix and then it was off to work on trimming limbs around a hay field on a cool afternoon. That 5.9-mile run will be my last for the foreseeable future.

After finishing the hay field work, freak accident caused me to be thrown backwards and down from 9-10 feet, ending with a broken lower back. I had my sixth 178-mile Reno Tahoe Odyssey team run scheduled next week and likely had settled on a bike ride around Lake Michigan for late July and much of August. The Dragonboat competition is set for July 27. Those things won’t happen for me now, but with a lot of luck, prayer and God’s grace, I hope to do them again in the coming years.

We’re trying to heal the back naturally, without any rods and pins which was the first recommendation. I have at least enough of a chance to do this that the surgeons agreed to try. So I am in a surprisingly comfortable back brace for months into the future. Sleeping has been good since leaving the hospital and my appetite has returned. But there won’t be any mental therapy from exercise any time soon which I miss terribly.

From what I understand, my lower back is broken, and two bones need to heal back together. I have three vertebrae with damage. My legs work but not very quickly and they get tired easily. My back doesn’t like to stand erect, but I push to improve the posture. That is about all the pushing I’ve done on anything as I have decided to proceed easily as my body allows and for once to follow doctors’ orders.

This week, I have been using a walker to get around, learning how to minimize trips across the house and especially not to forget anything as I pass by. I can’t pick up anything from the floor as those doctors’ orders include no bending, especially forward which could derail the attempt to heal naturally. The process to take a shower is exhausting and only my second attempt since the accident is just ahead of finishing this column. Carrying a plate of food or even a spoon is a challenge. I dropped two spoons this week and left them exactly where they fell until the next visitor came by.

I’ve always said that the best thing about my cross-country bike rides is the people. No doubt, the best thing about this accident is the people too. The outpouring of love, support and prayers has been tremendous and has caused me more than a few tears of acknowledgment. The heartfelt visits, messages and calls have bolstered my belief that some day there will be running and cycling again. But even bigger is bolstering my belief that good people are still around us, no matter what the news networks say. Thank you all so much!

I often end my bike riding reports with some version of “Lord, Ride with Me Today.” I am embarking on my biggest challenge yet, so come along as the adventure begins. I’ll do updates as they become worthy in this column.

Our next race locally is the Main Street China Grove Challenge 5K on Friday evening, June 7. Check for this and other events at