From Team Type 1 SANOFI's Run Across America: Setbacks and Recoveries

Setbacks and Recoveries by Marcus Grimm

Cuba – New Mexico –

For Team Type 1 SANOFI runner Brian Foster, it seemed like the Run Across America was over almost as soon as it began. Foster, of East Amherst, New York was navigating a construction-strewn shoulder of a road on the first night of Run Across America when he rolled his ankle. Pain shot through the joint immediately and Foster had to pull over, forcing teammate Matt Patrick to take over early.

At the time, Foster thought he’d be back to action in time for his next run in the rotation. He hobbled a few more steps, expecting the pain to subside, but it didn’t. And very quickly he realized that with only four miles done of the three hundred he expected to run during the next two weeks, he incredibly might be finished.

Worse, Foster’s injury meant that the runners in Van A were pressed into twenty percent more mileage, and twenty percent fewer recovery breaks. They accepted their fate easily. For Foster, it was much harder.

“For several hours, I sat in the back of the van, sweatshirt pulled over my head. I was upset; upset for myself, upset for the team; just upset.”

A small relief came when Van A met Van B for the relay pass and Foster was attended to by Chris Zenker, who in addition to being a diabetic distance runner happens to be a podiatrist. If there were anyone who could understand the situation, it was Zenker, and the prognosis was good.

“No broken bones and no broken tendons, which kind of surprised me,” he said, “But it meant that when Brian could bear the pain, he could return to action.”

The pain was intense, however, and Foster attacked his recovery with a vengeance while his teammates attacked the asphalt. Icing, elevation, and ibuprofen every few hours. For Tom Grossman, Foster’s setback seemed familiar to him.

“It kind of reminded me of how we all come to deal with diabetes. First, there’s shock and more than a little anger. Then, we find all kinds of support in our loved ones. And finally, we realize that we hold the fate to getting better, so we do.”

And yesterday, after more than two days without running a mile, Foster returned to action for Van A, completing every one of his scheduled pulls. The injury isn’t gone, and Foster attends to the ankle by wrapping it before every leg and icing it whenever possible. But he’s back, and thrilled to be so.

“It feels wonderful,” he said. “Not my ankle. It still feels awful, but it’s getting better, and I’m so glad to be able to contribute the way I wanted to.”

Team Type 1 is made up of 100 of some of the finest professional and diabetic athletes in the world. Their mission is to promote wellness and achievement among diabetics worldwide. The Run Across America, a journey of more 3,000 miles, culminates on November 14, World Diabetes Day, in New York City. 


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