David Janson Janson

Profile Updated: July 27, 2022
David Janson
Residing In cincinnati, OH USA
Spouse/Partner Janet
Occupation Retired CPA - Controller
Children Cindy, Kim, Scott
Yes! Attending Reunion
My Story

“Why do you do that?”

This question is frequently posed to me when acquaintances anecdotally discover that I train to compete in the USATF master’s division even though I will be seventy-two years of age with my next birthday in February. When asked to share the location of my most recent marathon or 10K race, they are thoroughly confused upon hearing that my competitions consist of coming out of a set of starting blocks to either run one lap with two left hand turns or run half of a lap with one left hand turn.

That I regularly perform my strength training in a gym with much younger men usually leads to some degree of admiration for the condition of my elderly body and frequent disbelief when the admirers learn my actual age, is only part of the story.

Since I retired in 2006 as a school administrator to return to my roots as a quarter-miler when I competed for Ohio Wesleyan University, I have endured a series of tears to both Achilles tendons that threatened to put an end to my passion. After suffering a failed series of platelet-rich plasma injections that actually doubled the size of the tear in my left Achilles in 2009, I have managed to rehabilitate both tendons just enough to reach one of my goals, a national championship in 2016 in Grand Rapids, MI before suffering more season ending tears in both tendons. The tears have occurred so many times that both tendons developed large heel spurs encroaching into the tendons. The first time I was shown these devils on the x-rays and MRI images, I was alarmed to see that such things existed. They literally looked like the devil’s spurs seen on old lithographs in ancient books. The spurs have dramatically reduced the range of motion in my dorsal flexion to a mere five degrees for the left tendon and a slightly greater eight degrees in my right tendon – not ideal for a sprinter.

The chronic issues with my Achilles tendons have kept me from competing in more than two meets (Ohio Seniors in 2017 and 2021) since my 2016 national championship. I was excited that I had finally found the magic formula for returning to the track by having my therapist replace the inner soles in my training flats with customized orthotic inserts. The problem occurred when I tried to compete in my track spikes and reinjured both Achilles at the Ohio Championship in Portsmouth late this summer. I am currently searching for a solution to this issue because I don’t want to give up the competitive edge that a good pair of sprint spikes can provide when facing stiff competition.

After another round of therapy, I thought I had it solved until I reinjured the Achilles one month ago. Currently I am back in rehab with, yet another tear to the left tendon. I plan to make another attempt at returning to the national championship in 2022 because I miss the training, the competition, and the camaraderie.

But the multiple tears to my Achilles tendons followed by a failed PRP is not the real story. It is about my wife and the wife of my fiercest competitor and, I am proud to say, my friend, Howard Clark. These three people are the real reasons for this insane passion of mine.

First, there is the story of my wife. She is more than the love of my life, she is my inspiration. Her story is so incredible and unique that I am in the third year of documenting it in her biography which I plan to submit for publication in the next two years. Without giving away too much of her story before the publication, it is appropriate to share that my primary function is as a caregiver to this remarkable woman and her biographer, both of which consume most of my waking hours. Whatever discretionary time remains is devoted to my rehab, training, and analysis of my sprint mechanics. As any person who has ever cared for someone with limited mobility due to spinal disease and heart disease combined with diminished cognitive capacity due repeated mini-strokes and multiple administrations of over thirty different kinds of daily medicine can attest, it is a struggle for the caregiver to find time to nurture their personal emotional health.

That is where my devotion to my training comes into play. If it were not for the hope of some day returning to competition, I strongly believe that I would not be as effective as I am with the care of my wife.

There is another factor that keeps me pointed in the right direction, my friends, Howard and Brenda Clark. Of the two, Brenda is my favorite -- sorry Howard – because she has shared so much of her personal health struggle with me and, often, provided me with advice for improving my outlook while finding ways to deal with the threats posed to my wife by the Covid scourge. I wish I could share her story too, but I don’t feel that it would be appropriate in this venue.

Finally, there is Howard. He gets me and I get him because, like me, he also suffers from chronic issues with his Achilles tendons. We both love competing because it is something that we can do on a high level (his level exceeds mine by a great deal) because of the gifts with which God has blessed the both of us. We enjoy training on a track, even when it gives us tunnel vision and nausea after repeated reps on a hot day in the middle of summer. Someday, I hope to find two other crazy guys like us and compete as team in the 4 x 400 relay at a major venue.

In the meantime, I continue to care for my wife, write her amazing story, and train with the goal of returning to the track someday. The sport of Masters Track and Field gives me a great deal of satisfaction even when I can’t compete. As long as I can walk, I have hope. And, just as Howard’s wife supports his passion, my wife supports my passion. She understands how it keeps me physically and emotionally healthy.

These are the reasons why I do what I do.

PS After placing seventh at the 2022 National Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale i June, I injured the right Achilles while training on the track. I returned to Physical Therapy. Still passionate about what I do, I remain determined to defend my national championship at the national championship competition in Greensboro, NC in July of 2023. Maybe I will see some of my old teammates.

Try it, if you can stand the post-workout pains, it keeps you young.

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