Back from illness, surgery, and setting records again
Kelly Wesolowski, a senior at Hereford, is proving tough as ever to beat
The day was quickly turning into night last January, but that didn’t stop Kelly Wesolowski from heading out for a run.
That it was just a 15-minute jaunt at a gentle pace didn’t matter.
During the previous 14 months, Wesolowski, a standout senior on the Hereford cross country team, had been dealing with a bad right foot caused by Freiberg’s disease, a rare form of bone-tissue death, in the second metatarsal. There were crutches, a surgical boot and extended rest. Then a setback, followed by surgery and more recovery time for a girl who was always on the go.
Earlier that day in January, she went to the doctor’s office feeling apprehensive, as she was all the other times she visited. But this time, the news was all good: She was cleared to run again.
“I was like, ‘Yes!’ and was in the mindset that I wanted to run a marathon, but obviously I couldn’t do that,” Wesolowski said. “I remember my mom saying, ‘Kelly, you’re so happy. This is the best mood you’ve been in for months,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I am just so happy.’ [Later during the Wesolowski
athletes want to get back and you kind of have to hold them back a little bit because they want to get going. But you got to slow novice. She doesn’t have the race experiInvite with a time of 10:47.16. them down to make sure they are healed.” run,] I was in my neighborhood, it was just ence at that distance in cross country that She considered going out for cross Joanne Wesolowski watched her daughstarting to get dark out and it just felt so somebody who is a senior and running that country in her sophomore year but decided ter in tears twice over the long and difficult amazing.” well typically has.” to play another year of soccer with the stretch — first at the original news and again
OnOct. 8, about one year after the surgery, What Wesolowski definitely has is a love chance to play on the varsity team. Near the when she was told she needed surgery. Wesolowski overwhelmed the 22-team field of running, a dedication to training and a end of the season, she felt pain on the top of Joanne Wesolowski has also seen her in winning the Gettysburg (Pa.) Invitational. fierce competitiveness. The school’s track her foot and figured she just got kicked or recently turned 17-year-old daughter beComing in at 18 minutes, 7 seconds, she coach, Brad Duvall, discovered something stepped on, common in soccer. come stronger and show an ability to broke the course record by 17 seconds and else her freshman year. When the pain persisted into the indoor overcome adversity. was 34 seconds faster than the runner-up. He did a pulse differential test with the track season, she visited a foot specialist, “I couldn’t imagine being 15 and dealing
In her first season of cross country — she team, which then included senior Sarah Dr. Jeffrey Brodie, and learned it was much with something like that. But she handled had previously played soccer during the fall Ashwood, a three-time state champion in more serious. it very well,” Joanne Wesolowski said. “It and then moved on to indoor and outdoor the 1,600-meter race, taking each runner’s According to Brodie, who performed the was very hard for her, but I think the good track seasons earlier in her high school pulse before and after a workout. surgery on Wesolowski, Freiberg’s disease thing in the long run is it makes her realize career — she has convincingly won two “Five minutes after the run, Kelly was occurs most often in adolescent girls who how precious everything is in her life. I races and placed second in two others. almost back at her resting heart rate. So are athletes. It is believed to be caused by think she is very grateful she had a really
At the Milestat 5K near Richmond, Va., while all the other girls were still elevated repetitive microtrauma: in Wesolowski’s good surgeon that took care of her and on Saturday, she took second and was one of well over 100, she was back in the 70s and case, her running. she’s able to go back to what she loves to nine runners who finisheddo.”underthe80s.It’salmostinhuman,”Duvallsaid.“The“Whathappensis,thebloodflowtothat previous course record. Her time of 17:41 reality is that her cardiovascular capacity is head of the metatarsal diminishes and part Kelly Wesolowski, who maintains a 3.8 also was the fastest ever by a Hereford so beyond anybody I’ve ever coached or of the bone can die. And when that bone GPA and has a growing list of interested runner — taking 10 seconds off the mark set seen in my years of coaching.” loses blood supply and dies, the cartilage colleges, says her foot feels fine and while by 2009 graduate Kristen Malloy. Wesolowski grew up playing soccer and surface can actually collapse,” Brodie said. Brodie told her it has healed perfectly, she
There were certainly high hopes for had her mind set on playing it in college. But When extended rest did not prevent it still thinks about the injury recurring. Wesolowski this fall with the recordshe joined a running club during middle from further collapsing, Wesolowski Mostly, though, she’s moving forward, breaking success she enjoyed during her school and quickly became hooked. Her needed surgery. Using a bone graft from her through the trees and up the hills to cross freshman indoor and outdoor track seasons father, Joe, ran several marathons, so it was heel, Brodie replaced the dead part of the the finish line — determined to reach it first. and also the fact that she was finally fit to in the blood. bone to allow blood flow to return in the The same goes for life. train over the summer. As a freshman in indoor track, she broke metatarsal head area. “I think mentally it has really helped me But this much success and this quickly? the school’s record in the 3,200 meters that “When we go in, we take out the bone push through things in life that have “I think we knew all along she had the was established in 1982 and lowered the that’s not alive and put in this bone with her nothing to do with running,” she said.“It’s capacity to do this, but you can’t hide when mark two more times before being slowed own cells that helps it to fill in and try to like ‘I was able to get through that which the watch comes out. She really had to show by a hamstring injury. Returning from the heal and she did great,” Brodie said. “It’s a was a year and some months away from up and do what she can do,” Hereford cross surgery, she finished second at the state process that takes a lot of time and patience what I love the most, so I can get through a country coach John Roemer said. “She has meet after just a few practices. During the to get through because that bone has to heal tough 40-minute test.’ ” been so successful, it’s hard for me to outdoor season, she set the school’s 3,200and revascularize and then we have to remember and realize that she really is a meter mark at North County’s Knight slowly allow this. Often times, young