One broken foot would be enough for most people, but when Rob Gibson breaks shit he goes all the way. He broke both his feet skateboarding as a result of bad luck mixed with a little self-admitted stubbornness. Did he get depressed? Maybe a little. Did those broken feet break his spirit? Oh hell no.
If you’ve ever contacted YORK Athletics customer service, Rob was on the other end helping you out. He’s YORK Athletics operations manager, responsible for the top-notch customer service we pride ourselves on. What you don’t know about Rob is that in addition to being an avid skateboarder, he’s a competitive runner. His stats are impressive: he runs a 2:25 marathon, 67:13 half marathon, 14:09 5K, was 3 time State Champion in high school and a Conference Champion in college.
Being laid up for 6 months, Rob missed roadwork more than anything else. He talks about his ordeal, the road to recovery, and how his stubbornness has fueled his fighting spirit in this week’s Out of Step journal post…
I never thought I would miss running as much as I do since I broke both my feet. I have been a runner my whole life and have been skateboarding since I was 10 years old. Despite the two being very different activities, and potentially counter productive to one another, I have managed to excel at both.
In early October 2016, I tore a ligament and broke a bone in my right foot skateboarding. The tear was bad enough that I needed to have bones in my foot screwed together in order for it to heal. Needless to say, the next few months were spent on the couch recovering.
In February 2017, I went in for my second surgery to have the screw removed. Two weeks later, I was cleared to start riding the stationary bike and aqua jogging. As an avid runner, the stationary bike and aqua jogging are not my thing. Despite my distaste for exercising in place, I took advantage of every opportunity I had to do both because I knew the more work I put in, the sooner I would be able to run.
Late March, I was able to crush 90+ minute bike and pool tempos. I had even managed to work up 20 minutes of easy running. I was feeling stronger and I knew I could start getting back to the activity’s I loved most.
I woke up on the morning of April 2nd energized and excited. I was going to get back on my board. I drove down to the skate park in Boston, blasting Motörhead and getting myself hyped to skate. Even though I knew I had to take it easy, I couldn’t have been happier to be outside, enjoying the weather, and cruising around my favorite skate park. Forty-five minutes into skating, I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face. Despite being exhausted, I felt I was back. I could finally get back to my normal life. I knew that I should probably call it a day because I hadn’t skated in months, but I was so happy that I ignored the nagging feeling in my gut telling me to go home. I decided to do one more run that I had done 15 or so times that morning. Despite my confidence, I ended up slipping off my board in such a way that my back (left) foot dragged behind me. As my foot started to drag, the rest of my body came down over my ankle and I instantly heard one pop followed immediately by another one. I immediately knew that something was very wrong.
I had managed to literally nearly rip my left foot off. I had broken both sides of my ankle and dislocated my foot to the point where it was twisted 90 degrees to the left. Despite how gnarly the injury was the most traumatic part was the harsh realization that I was once again going to have to put my life on hold and spend my days on the couch recovering.
It has been 4 months since I destroyed my left ankle. You would think I would have spent this time moping and asking myself why this had to happen again so soon. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t suck, but I can truly say that I know that I will come out of this a better person. I have developed a greater appreciation for the things I love during these recent couch bound days.
While I do miss the thrill and joy of skateboarding, the thing I miss most is road work. What I would give to be able to run, to feel my lungs burn and my muscles ache. I want to feel the disappointment of a bad race and I want to feel the joy of running faster than I thought I could. I long for the the alone time to just put one foot in front of the other and think. Despite how physically agonizing and mentally punishing running can be, it is completely worth the joy the sport gives me. After these many months of recovery, I have come to realize how important it is for me to get out and run every chance I have.
I know it will be some time before I am able to try and run under 2:25 for a marathon again. I realize that will be a long and challenging process to get back to that level of fitness, but I am determined to try. I know that every hour spent on the road is better than two on the couch. I know that am happiest putting in work on the road.
Love to run like Rob does? Try his favorite style to run in, the Henry OG.