In early September Ryan and I set out for an ambitious hike. Hike around the lake upon which we live, some 112,000ft of lake shore. To give a better sense of distance, 1 mile has 5, 280 feet in it so the hike was approximately 21 miles. I thought to myself, “Sure, I can do that. Why not?” Ryan had already completed the hike once earlier this year which greatly added to my optimism in completion. Well, according to some I did and according to others I didn’t. What the hike for me came down to was a bad shoe choice.
We started out early enough, 11am. We had water and snacks and a lively spirit. The day was pretty. Not too hot, sunny, with spotty clouds and a slight breeze. Five miles in though, I was working on my first blister and a couple miles later I had at least 2 more that I knew of. I didn’t think to pop them and in small, almost imperceptible increments I altered my gait. This altered how I used my joints and by the time we hit Williams Bay, a scant mile or so from our starting/finishing line, I could go no further.
My hips were killing me. My body had failed me. Apparently, although I’m not actually a sloth, I haven’t been as active as I used to be and the miles I run around the hospital in short sprints to get from the meds or supplies back to the bedside, or runs to scans and x-rays wasn’t keeping my endurance up for me. The altering of my gate had me walking so stiffly that an older woman offered the suggestion that I get a walker. (Very helpful suggestion indeed…my last shred of dignity was beat up and tossed to the gutter.) My legs weren’t tired, my muscles weren’t sore, my joints had had enough…starting with one hip and then going to the other.
I’m blaming it on the shoes–hot little moisture trappers that they were.
It was quite an emotional experience for me: Disappointment in myself. Concern that I’m already falling apart. Frustration that such a seemingly easy task ended up being a wall. Once I pulled myself together though I came to accept that I just need to not take myself for granted and I need to remember to invest a little more in myself. That lake will be conquered one day–or something very similar to it. I just need to build up to it. Isn’t that what we do? Learn from our experiences, make sense out of them and apply new lessons?