Colorado

Oct 16, 2010 6:33 PM by Matt Stafford

Running toward recovery

Steve LaRocque, a Fort Carson soldier, has a reminder of what happened in September of 2009 every time he laces up his running shoes.

LaRocque was shot in the knee while helping others who were injured during an ambush in Afghanistan; five people were shot that day, one person died. Now LaRocque is the only one who can run.

It took a while to get there though. Just after the injury he was told he might have trouble walking and may need assistance. That news didn't settle well.

"My job, I'm an infantryman in the Army." LaRocque explains. "That's not a job you can do with a cane."

He says he told himself that just wouldn't work. LaRocque called his sister about a week later to tell her they were going to run a marathon.

"I've always wanted to run a marathon and I was always just pushing it off, pushing it off," LaRocque says. "It took me getting shot and being afraid of never being able to run again to finally go through and do it."

Just over a year later, LaRocque is 26.2 miles away from reaching his goal. He was just cleared to run 6 months ago, and from there it was slow starting out. But looking back, he says where you begin isn't that important.

"It's not really a matter of finding the starting point; it's more about finding the end point."

He hopes to find that point on Sunday; crossing the finish line will be LaRocque showing himself just how hard he's worked.

"(Telling himself) 'Hey I'm better now', that's the whole purpose behind it."

He proves that to himself every day on runs, where he has plenty of time to think. A lot of it is about the day that set him on this path.

"I play it over and over again," says LaRocque. "I wonder, did I do every thing right? What would I have done different? Things like that."

It's the scars on his left knee that keep him going, but the distance depends on him. He thinks picking the marathon rather than a short race had him work harder to recover.

"If my goal was to just be able to walk again or just to be able to run 2 miles again then I don't think I'd be as far recovered as I am."

On Sunday he'll find out just how far that is.

LaRocque says his goal for the race to break 4 hours. Afterwards, he says he may try another marathon, or possibly a triathlon.

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