Last weekend I took my Mom and my kids to Florida. It was, essentially, Mom’s last trip down there. It was draining–both physically and mentally. I’m glad I did it, but it was as draining as my last trip, if not more so. I’ll try to write about it some time, but I make no promises. It was very painful and sad, and I’m not sure I’ll have the patience to write about it, and this really isn’t the venue for it, anyway.

This week I finally got my running leg. It’s freakin’ awesome. And it’s also a little bit…I don’t know how to put it. Maybe ‘uncomfortable’ is the right word. Not physically uncomfortable, but psychologically so. Every other leg I’ve ever had has looked more or less like a normal leg. Even my swimming leg (which I did manage to use for a few laps down in Florida–and promptly ripped the big toe off of it. Maybe I do need to write a little bit about the trip after all) with its adjustable ankle is nevertheless leg shaped. This leg is not. When I’m wearing it it’s quite obvious I’m an amputee. And while I’m comfortable writing about it, and talking about it with my friends (and occasionally with strangers), I confess to a bit of awkwardness in living it.

It won’t stop me from getting up and doing some running with it, but it’s something I’ll have to work through to do it.

So now I have all my hardware, and I have an oversized wheeled gym bag that fits both legs quite nicely, so I’ll be able to carry them with me to whatever event I’ll be going to next. I’ve joked around a bit that I’m like a golfer with a bag of clubs, but I think the more accurate analogy is a bowler with a bag of balls that he uses for different lanes.

And the training’s about to start. A week from Monday I’ll start my swimming lessons, and I’m also signed up for a seven week training program with physical therapy students from a local college as part of their Orthotics and Prosthetics course, so we’ll be helping each other out. Apparently there will be other amputee athletes there as well, which is cool. I’ve never met any others, so this will be a first for me.

And what’s really interesting right now is how little I’m dreading this. Every time I’ve start a new project like this I have had a sense of dread. That’s not the case here. I’m actually looking forward to these events. I wish they would start sooner. Is this how most people feel?

I could get used to this.


Legging it

Today I went to the gym with my buddy Dave. While I was in training for my ride up Mt. Washington, we went to the gym together probably 3 or 4 times a week. But then my membership expired at the end of August, and I didn’t rejoin the gym until this month, so it’s been a while. This was only the second time we worked out together this year.

Usually our workouts start out with 15 minutes of cardio, then we do some muscle work. In the past, I’ve done either a stationary bike, or an elliptical machine. Today, though, I decided to try running on a treadmill. Even though I haven’t run since Carter Administration, even though I don’t have my running leg yet, and even though I’m using used shoes, I figured ‘Hey–I’m still in pretty good shape, what with all the bicycling. This should be no problem!’

This was a problem.

I managed to run about 6 out of the 15 minutes I was on the thing. I started out at a walk, and over a 3 minute period, increased the speed until I had to run. I kept that pace for 2 minutes, then I had to slow down again to a walk. I walked for 2 minutes, then ran for a minute. I alternated walking and running a minute until the end. I never stopped, and when I walked, I did it at 4 mph or higher (and increased the angle of the treadmill), but I was gassed at the end. Also, my knee hurt a bit when I ran–similar to the way it felt when I was running on the shoes I didn’t like from the running store. I’m hoping that when I get the new shoes, and when I get the running leg, things will be better. But I would have rather had things be better now.

When I came home tonight and told my kids what I did over dinner, my daughter (who ran her first 5k this fall) looked at me like I was a moron. This is not unusual in and of itself. After all, she is a teenager.

“When was the last time you ran?” she said.

“1979,” was my reply.

“You ran too much,” she said. “You’ve got to work your way up to this.”

Oh. Nothing like getting schooled by a kid who’s never seen a rotary-dial phone.

So, once again, I’m reminded that:

  • Things Take Time.
  • Slow Growth is Good Growth.
  • Everything Seems Important When You Start Each Word With a Capital Letter.

Speaking of taking time…

Getting my running leg is a lesson in patience. I’m trying to get the leg approved through Worker’s Compensation, and it’s a long process. I think next week I’m going to call them and see where we stand with this.

The leg I’m asking for is a Flex Run. It’s made by a company called Össur, who also have a large online training video library, catered to amps. It’s one of those spring-loaded jobbers that you’ve probably seen on TV. I need it because if I continue to run on the leg I have, I’ll pretty much destroy it. Hopefully the folks who approve these sorts of things will see it that way, too. Here’s a video of two guys running a half-marathon in France using the leg I’ll be using. Of course, if I use this foot, I’ll only need the one running shoe. I wonder if I’ll get them for half off?