We’re down in the La Jolla area this weekend for the Challenged Athletes Triathlon and other awesome related events.
Today, one of the largest prosthetic foot manufacturers, Ossur, hosted an amputee running clinic. Our idea was to spectate, socialize, meet other amputees, and gain knowledge. But how peculiar that Nick ran for the first time in therapy yesterday and then found himself at a running clinic today. So, of course, he had to participate.
He did a few trips back and forth down the lane before throwing in the towel from exhaustion and hopping back in his chair. Watching his first attempt at running this morning brought me to tears. It was more of a fast walk than a run, but there were a few steps where Nick launched a little bit off his hind leg. It was amazing!
Dozens of inspiring amputees were learning and improving their gait with the help of volunteer therapists and trainers. Children and adults from all walks of life were pushing their limits, and the kids were particularly cute and awesome.
I spent time chatting with a single amputee Paralympic volleyball player who played in London this year. I watched a double amputee, three-time Paralympic medalist train people how to take off sprinting from a starting block. And I got inspiration from a woman who was the first woman amputee to complete the Kona Iron Man triathlon.
We met a kid who lost his legs above the knee eleven months ago who is learning to run on running blades. Seeing him run and get around on his springy legs made Nick say, “Dang, I need to get my shit together.” Well, I think Fener is doing pretty awesome considering he’s battling a spinal cord injury as well. Like we’ve said before, he’d probably be competing in the triathlon tomorrow if he didn’t shatter his lower vertebrae.
The vibe at the running clinic was nothing but pure hope, excitement, and unity. Everyone was cheering for everybody else’s accomplishments. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I took lots of video and will share it soon. Tomorrow we’re off to watch the main event: the 1 mile swim, 44 mile bike ride, and 10 mile run. Yikes! I couldn’t do that right now, and I have both my legs. They will also have a kids race, a stationary bike race for those not able to ride the street course, and wheelchair races.
We bumped into a friend from Project Walk while at the Tri Registration event at the Challenged Athletes Foundation headquarters. He’s been training for five weeks to hand cycle the bike course as an individual event. So inspiring!
Here’s Nick after the running clinic: asleep as his head hit the bed. Didn’t even make it onto a pillow!