I’ve been doing quite a few of these 5K races since I discovered that people could participate as walkers.
I used to run distance track in college, but years of surgery on my legs (me vs. a car – it wasn’t pretty), 6 pregnancies, and good old-fashioned time have done a job on my legs and joints. Some days it was tough just being upright. In fact, four years ago while sitting in my doc’s office I remember putting my hands above my knees and telling him “If you could just cut off both of my legs right here, I’d be fine.” I though living life in a wheelchair was better than living with constant pain. I was holding my life together with narcotics and OTC pain killers and it wasn’t working.
Chronic pain sucks.
Instead of an amputation, my doc treated me for chronic Lyme disease (turns out a lot of my pain was Lyme related) which allowed me to get off the narcotics. But I still needed tons of anti-inflammatories (Advil, Aleve, etc) for the structural damage pain. The summer that Griffin and I did our first border-to-border walk, I took so many Advil that I destroyed my gut. It’s took close to a year to get it back in working order.
I had to find a different pain solution.
That’s when I got into a (legal) therapeutic cannabis program. Since starting using cannabis products about a year ago, I haven’t taken one narcotic and in the past year I’ve probably taken a total of 3 Advil tablets.
Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.
I can now go to the gym with my kids and work out on the elliptical and the treadmill. Soon I’ll be adding (slowly) upper body workouts.
I’m getting stronger and my pain is under control.
I still can’t run, but I can walk.
So I do.
And I’m even starting to push myself while walking.
This Sunday, I discovered that if I leaned forward when I went downhill I can sort of do a half-way jog. For someone who hasn’t been able to run in literally decades, this is all very exciting.
I crossed the finish line breaking 50 minutes – a personal best. While the professional runners will probably shake their heads at that, this gal, who had at one time wanted her doc to cut off both of her legs, is ridiculously proud of that time.
It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, but it’s not about the winning, it’s about the doing.
And sometimes just the doing means you win. Big time.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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