At my workshops, I sometimes I get asked to tell my story. I usually don’t. I think it implies that my story is somehow more valuable than anybody else’s. We’re all in this make-your-dreams-come-true thing together, and I want to keep it that way.
But this time I’m going to make an exception, because I’ve stumbled onto something so big and amazing there’s no way anybody could think it’s just about me. It’s huge, and if all of us could tap into this, we and our lives and our world would change – maybe as fast as overnight. Really, it’s that good. Here’s the story:
For reasons I won’t bore you with (okay, I’ve had a couple accidents, that’s all you get for now), I have trouble walking. Running is impossible. You name it, I’ve tried it: rehab, PT, lifting, stretching, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, energy therapy . . . No luck so far. But I love to work out, and last September (2011) my daughter was home and wanted to lose some weight she’d put on during a year in France. (Bon appétit!) So she’d go to Bally Total Fitness with me and get on the elliptical machine, and I’d get on the one next to her. She’d go maybe an hour. I’d go maybe 10 minutes.
She lost the weight she wanted to lose, and I got an idea: “I wonder if I could start running on this machine, the way I used to before I got hurt?” I also wondered if maybe somewhere along the way my body would decide to start working again like it did before.
Then I got a second, totally crazy, wild hare idea. “I wonder if I could do 12 miles in 60 minutes on this thing?” Never mind that I have trouble walking to the end of the block. I have no idea where the idea came from; it just did. But I do know that twelve 5-minute miles is fast.
So I started in, grinding out maybe a mile in 12 or 15 minutes. My ankles and feet don’t have much feeling in them, and when I walk my hips and legs sort of stop working, so that I have to drag myself along. I call it my Quasimodo walk. And so when I was done with my elliptical sessions I could barely get off the machine. I’d look around, trying to make sure nobody noticed as I staggered and wobbled over to a chair. I’d collect myself and then go staggering and wobbling home (I have a cane, but hate to use it), afraid some cop was going to come by and stop me for public drunkenness. (Seriously.)
I worked on pace and stamina throughout the fall, and discovered something really important: when my feet and ankles are numb and my legs stop working, I can still make the elliptical move. I don’t have to actually pick up my feet (which is a problem), all I have to do is glide. (Hint: That’s important. Remember that for later.)