Monthly Archives: April 2014


We all face adversity in our lives. Family death, economy, injury – it’s not about comparing, but just about how each individual handles the cards dealt to them. Sure, my thoughts are currently fueled by an Achilles injury, something that is healable. But, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s adversity and is greatly altering my current lifestyle.

I mentioned to Denise last night how this injury (my adversity) makes it clearer to understand how someone can fold under the pressure of adversity, and have them taken off of their path and pushed to an entirely new one. The Achilles for instance is for the most part an athletic injury (yes, can happen to anyone, but prevalent in athletics). Consider an athlete who’s economics depends on their body only to be taken out for a year from injury. They want to play – they want to make a living. There may be guaranteed money with a contract for their year of injury, but no guaranty that they’ll ever return to 100% form. Re-injury or replacement (Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe for instance) can alter that person forever. You read about sad stories all the time – athletes who turned to drugs/alcohol and sometimes don’t make it to an elder age, some dying in loneliness and despair. Those same stories happen everywhere – rich, poor, city, suburbs – it’s about life, and when something is taken away from you, it’s up to you to handle it.

Adversity tests ones inner strength. No one, and I mean no one, can fix you. You can have plenty of support from family and friends, but you still have to face each day with your own mind and body. I don’t think any of us comprehend what goes on in our minds, and what it can take to crack your strength and suck the life out of you. This simple injury has fought to bring me down. Yes, I’ve felt down, but not out. I’ve had my share of adversity like everyone else has.

Is there a point to this lengthy post? I guess only to look inside yourself with whatever you are facing, and realize there is enough good in this world to make it worthwhile not to let adversity win. Whether adversity takes something from you temporarily or permanently, until your eyes close forever, you are here to fight and live. All I have to do is look at my wife and best friend Denise and watch how she has handled adversity – she’s a strong woman who whether knows it (or admits it) or not, she is a true inspiration.

Muscles/Tendons – Lengthen/Stretching – Personal Injury Experience

I have been active most of my life, and have been consistently exercising for almost 25 years. During that time I continually research and learn. One aspect of exercising has been clear to me for a long time – the importance of lengthening and stretching your muscles. On April 17, 2014, I personally experienced the result of taking this important factor of exercising for granted, and not spending enough time warming up the muscles pre-exercising and regularly practicing stretching (and yoga).

A little over six months ago I started body building/weight training, a departure for me of over 20 years of mostly cardio. The benefits to weight training are easily researched – strengthens bones, builds muscle to lessen chance of injury, burns calories, body composition, etc. I was performing deadlifts (PR=335lbs), squats, shrugs, presses, etc., all with the intention of gaining some muscle mass and strength. On 04/17/2014 I was in a training session for some core/cardio. I was on my third set of jumping rope, when I felt nothing short of being hit on the back of the lower right leg with a baseball bat or rock or something. I went down and looked up at my trainer and asked him what I hit. The answer was nothing, and then I knew something was wrong. It was fairly obvious it was the Achilles I ruptured.


As I write this blog entry I am one day removed from surgery, with 12 weeks of crutches and 8-12 weeks of a walking air boot in my future. What I wanted to know was the “why” – what seems like an innocent exercise of jumping rope to cause an Achilles rupture. I’ve run 5K’s, done a Spartan Sprint, climbed Mt. Katahdin in Maine, weight training – no injuries. A side note – a few years ago I blew out my right calf muscles stepping off a picnic bench.

Figuring out the “why” was looked at from several angles. My cousin mentioned to me he thought is was the heavy deadlifts that weakened the Achilles which started me on my quest for an answer. I thought I was strengthening the Achilles with my deads and squats so in my mind I didn’t think my cousin was correct. Maybe it was just a freak accident, and the jumping rope caused the injury. But something in the thought process was missing, and then I put the pieces together to figure out the why. Although I know all about warming up and stretching and their benefits (flexibility, lengthening), in hindsight I neglected those on a regular basis and took shortcuts, blaming time as the major factor. A couple of minutes warming up, a few minutes of stretching afterwards – not enough.

My answer to the why – a combination. With the weight training I was performing, I was strengthening the muscles. But with the lack of warming up and stretching the muscles, I was not lengthening the muscles back out from the weight training, thus slightly decreasing my range of motion. So in the act of jump roping, I was continually stretching the Achilles, and since I had been strengthening them over the past several months without stretching them back out, like an elastic band I was asking the Achilles to stretch but they ran out of room and BOOM!! – complete rupture.

This is my personal experience, and from my research I will live and learn. As I progress through physical therapy, I will add stretching probably as a daily morning routine. I will spend no less than 10 minutes warming up before any exercise routine and will spend time post workout stretching. I also plan to add Yoga and Pilates to my overall approach. I won’t sit here and pull out the age card (I’m 54) although I know it’s a factor. In my case, this injury wasn’t from pushing too hard for my age, but was simply a procedural error overall.

My advice to all is to never neglect warming up and stretching.