Thursday, January 7, 2016

Porcelain Shoulders Rauschenberg: A Guest Post From A Real Runner

Dane got special permission from Coach Groves to wear an official Singlet!
I asked fellow Penn Stater and Running Guru Dane Rauschenberg to write a guest post for our blog, and he gracefully accepted.  I befriended Dane some time ago with this wonderful internet and made him an honorary member of our group several years ago.

I admire Dane for his lust for life and his willingness to spread the word on what he finds worthwhile in life.  We have much in common.  We even both lived in Holmes Hall on campus, although I'm afraid he inherited a somewhat worse-for-wear building from me and my dorm-mates. 

Porcelain Shoulders Rauschenberg. -by Dane Rauschenberg.

That’s the nickname I have given myself. From the nipples down, I am virtually indestructible. The rest of me,however, is a virtual mess. I have broken both collarbones (twice.) I have torn four tendons in my elbow while dislocating it at the same time. Fractured my jaw. Staples and large cut in my skull. Destroyed my coracoid process in my shoulder (This last one was one of those “Hey, other doctor! Come look what this guy did to himself!” moments.) 

But all of the things which are supposed to happen to me, since I run quite often and rather long, never have. No foot problems, no knee injuries and virtually nothing other than some niggling aches and pains here and there. This is not what one expects from a guy who has run 52 Marathons in one year among other things, at least if you listen to every non-runner tell me how bad running is for me, that is. 

That’s the issue. We worry about or are at least told to worry about so many things which never come to fruition. In speeches I give, I do not sugarcoat things. You can’t do everything you put your mind to. That’s just an undeniable fact. Some of us simply aren’t made to do certain things. But you can ignore what you are not supposed to be able to do. Or at the very least be blissfully ignorant about it. Because the only way to find out what you can’t do is to continue to attempt to do it. I played rugby at Ole State for two years. I was, at best, B squad. As a fullback (which is sort of like a kick returner who has no blockers) I didn’t get my hands on the ball very much in a scoring position. However, the very first time I ever touched a ball in a game, I scored. This score happened while I was on the annual Spring Break tour with the guys in 1997. I was playing mostly because the rest of the team was pretty sore from taking on Life College in Atlanta a few days prior. My playing time was predicated on the fact that I was a warm body who wasn’t yet hurting. Early in this game, an opportunity had us close to the 22 meter line. I have no idea how we ended up there so quickly before I even fielded a kick. I also have no idea why I was so close to the action as I should have been much further back. But as it so happens, I was out of position, the ball squirted out, I took it across the try line and presto! Instant stud. 

I promptly went on to never score another try again in the remaining games I played at Penn State. Didn’t even come close. So much for groupies and fame through Rugby. I graduated, took a year off and then went to Dickinson Law School. We had a team there and in one of my first few games, on the opening kick, I got taken to the ground awkwardly. I bent my elbow in the direction elbows are not supposed to go. I never played rugby again. 

Running as a means of exercise soon followed as I needed a way to stay fit. Then running transformed into a hobby. After that, taking a complete detour from everything I had been planning in my life for 30 years, it turned into a career. Meanwhile, I stayed running injury free. However, twice in the next three years, while doing cross training on the bike, I was in a nasty crash (see collarbone injuries above. One for each crash.) I healed fast and was back running. The day after Christmas a few weeks ago, I was out for a run. For essentially 15 years I had run without an injury. I have run across deserts. I have run up volcanoes. Snow. Ice. Rooted trails in pitch black. The terrains I have traversed know no end. So of course I should trip over a tiny branch on the sidewalk, catch my fingers in a railing and get a spiral fracture in my hand. Voila! My first running injury. Now the hand is obviously below the nipples but I still think it counts as part of my porcelain upper. I landed on my hip as well but it was only mildly abraded. So, now I am healing. I am missing running. But I am still getting out there because, well, the doctor said I could. Never one to be macho and ignore sound medical advice I listened to my health care provider. Also, I realized that the two days I took off were pretty miserable. Not because it was just two days but because I didn’t know how many days off it was going to be. Somehow, the thing I despised back in rugby, running laps, is the thing I need now about five times a week in order to be even remotely palatable to be around. Dane back in college would have thought that was impossible. It’s nice that almost 40 year old Dane ignores that thought. And this Dane is in better shape and is far hotter.

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