“I felt something in my left thigh snap,” she says. “My
leg went numb, flailing about like a limp noodle. It took
no time to tell that it was broken! My calves, quads, shins,
back, feet, and diaphragm went haywire, cramping from
Williams’ world had been transformed instantly from one
of perfect order and well-executed plans to one of excruciat-ing
pain, swelling beyond belief, and chaos.
“We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words,”
she says. “But when I saw my X-ray there were no words,
only a thousand questions: What can be done to fix this?
How long will I have to stay in Boston? How will I get
home? Will I ever walk again, let alone run?”
For several weeks after she arrived home, her running
friends brought meals every evening.
“I was touched by the outpouring of love,” Williams says.
“I could hardly eat because the pain meds left me with little
appetite, but I enjoyed their visits and encouragement. They
made me smile, but my emotions were in turmoil. I was
angry with that person who so carelessly discarded the water
bottle that precipitated my fall. I had prayed for protection,
so how could this have happened?”
Despite struggling with mundane things — taking show-ers,
driving, even opening doors — Williams resisted help.
I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end,
and if it is, I am the only one who can win it. — Steve Pr efontaine
“I am insanely independent; I have never faced having to
depend on anyone for anything,” she says. “It humbled me. I
was forced to rely on my husband, family, and friends.”
After progressing through several months of painful,
arduous physical therapy, Williams tried to run.
“It was incredibly painful,” she says.
The pain was caused by one of the screws holding her
leg together. It had worked its way out and was damaging
“I was told that the whole thing needed to be redone or
I’d never walk normally, let alone run, again. I threw an
internal tantrum. I cannot go through this again!” she says.
“But I will never forget what my coach, Tom Clifford, said
to me: ‘You have to stop focusing on what happened and
why it had to happen to you. None of us has been through
or can understand what you are going through. Maybe God
chose you because you are strong enough to handle it. I do
know that the sooner you get it redone the faster you will get
back to running!’ What? But he was right. It must be redone.
Here I was, eight months later, in my mid-50s, having to
learn to walk, again.”
COURTESY ALECIA WILLIAMS