By Annie Bencomo
In late June of 2012 Giovanni (my husband) and I moved to Atlanta. Shortly after we moved, we watched the Peachtree Road Race (PRR), which I learned is the largest 10k in the world. I was happy to be there spectating and cheering on a few friends, and at the same time completely embarrassed at the fact that I could not physically run 6 miles at the time. As an outsider, new to Atlanta and to the running/triathlon scene here, I was floored by the community support and spectators at the PRR. We chatted with some people who were there to cheer and didn't know a single person racing; and with people who knew tons of people racing. All where there with the same sense of community and enthusiasm. I couldn’t wait to get back to training and racing and definitely wanted to race PRR the next year.
It was not without reason I couldn’t run 6 miles as I watched the PRR. In the spring of 2012 I was training for Escape From Alcatraz and super excited for this bucket list race. I disregarded aches and pains as nothing serious and kept up with my training. Eventually, my physical therapist sent me to a sports medicine doctor (who luckily is also a general practice doc) expecting that a quick checkup and a cortisone shot would fix me right up. While visiting him, I talked about the knee pain I believed to be most likely from my IT Band, and the calf pain I was sure was related to it since I was training through injury. To my absolute shock l was rushed to the hospital with a suspected blood clot, and got an emergency vascular ultrasound which detected several clots in my left leg.
That day I was put on Lovenox: a hospital grade, injectable blood thinner typically used for post-surgery and temporary treatment of blood clots. While most people are only on the Lovenox for less than two weeks I was unfortunately on it for 6, and with major side effects. I was in and out of the hospital several times, and since my body was not responding to the blood thinners I was instructed to stop exercising completely except for light yoga, walks and easy hikes until I was off the Lovenox. I was finally taken off blood thinners in November, had worked through physical therapy, Chiro, and Acupuncture for my knee, and was ready to jump back in to training getting back in shape.
Earlier this year I ran a local PRR 10k qualifier and a sprint triathlon to get back in the swing of things. Both went well and I had great results. However, thinking of my PRR spectating experience last year, I was most excited about the upcoming Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July. I was determined to run hard, but have a good time and enjoy the amazing spectators and community pride as I ran. Between the “priest” sprinkling holy waters on runners, the Chick-fil-A cows, and the excitement of all the other 60,000 runners, I had more fun than I’ve ever had during a race and really felt the spirit of this iconic race, and even squeaked out a little PR.
Annie at the Peachtree Road Race, 2013
Injuries and health issues are never fun, but definitely give perspective in how we have choose to live, balancing training, work and life. Staying positive and connected to an active community are definitely a must when sidelined with any injury or health issue, and I’m loving training and racing more than ever! Next up… Ironman Lake Tahoe!