I saw the truck approach me, but there was nowhere to go. All I can remember is putting my hands out in front of me as if I could stop it. Only a half-mile from my home, I was struck head-on and thrown 15 feet in the air. I vaguely recall the surrealism of lying on the ground in a fetal position watching people surrounding me. In an instance, my life changed forever. At the ER, six people frantically worked to save my life. The doctors used 30 staples to close my head. My left kneecap was protruding through my skin and my right tibia was shattered in five pieces.
Still in shock, I asked them to please hurry so I could continue my run. Three weeks after the incident and after multiple surgeries, I was finally allowed to return home. The first months back home were hard. I created a makeshift rehab centre. In the beginning, just moving my leg an eighth of an inch was a feat to celebrate. Eight months later, I was able to go from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane.
In spite of doctors telling me I'd never walk normally again, I returned to racing one year after the accident and actually won my division for my first race back. In my mind, I was starting over, so I threw away all of my old trophies and decided to start fresh from where I was. In 2013, I tackled my first post-accident marathon, Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica, in 3:58. I'm now even flirting with my pre-accident dream of trying an ultra. I call this experience a tragedy that is my gift. What we may perceive as negative is really an opportunity for a miracle.
- HOKA fan Dawn Ciccone from Center Valley, Pennsylvania. #humansofHOKA
We chatted to Caitlin about how they make their relationship work around their heavy training loads and transient race schedules.