Best Birthday Gift!


Great news... really great news!  Fantastic, in fact.  I was starting to believe it might never happen, but I did graduate out of the boot and into a carbon fiber orthotic!  The news came on my birthday and to tell you the truth I didn’t believe it.  I kept asking Dr. Nilsson for more and more specifics, details, whatever; I was waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop.  I almost cried as I left the office even though it was all good news.  I was overwhelming happy and totally scared of the possibility of just walking on my own again.

You will come to a place where the street are not marked.  
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose?  How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters?  Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find, 
for a mind-maker-upper to make up her mind.


The funny thing about being injured is the way it seems to define you.  I worried for a split second that casual acquaintances might not remember me without the boot.  I see how people see me, the way their eye is drawn to my right foot to confirm that I am the woman from... (fill in the blank).  This must be what it’s like to have big breasts...?

You'll comedown from the Lurch 
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, 
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump, 
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself 
is not easily done.
The fact that the news came on my birthday is fairly significant.  Many of my original goals were centered on my actual birthday and the events of the weekend before.  Post-race in Houston last January, I knew I was injured, but never imagined how bad it could be.  I remember talking to Philip Dunn about racewalking and thought that I wouldn’t be able to attend his clinic in May only because it fell on the same weekend as Bloomsday.  Instead, I missed both and sat home trying to elevate my (still) immobilized foot.  Then, of course, was my birthday- and no birthday run to celebrate.  That was devastating.  I originally believed I would be making my comeback and training at least 30+ miles a week; it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be running at all.  I never thought, not once in my worst case scenario, that I would still be in the boot on my birthday.  

You can get so confused
that you'll start in a race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weir dish wild space, 
headed, I fear, toward the most useless place.
                                                                The Waiting Place....
But I survived it all- all of the missed goals, all of the ups and downs. I still have a twisty windy road ahead but I am hopeful now.  I think that maybe there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  The light might only be improving quality of life (ditching the car for a bike or walk), it may not have a medal or paycheck at the end, but I can see it and that light is starting to look pretty good.  

NO! That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape 
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping
one more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind  of guy!

And will you succeed? 
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
                                                          
 KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

* all green text drawn from Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go!"  I'm sure it's copyrighted; please don't tell on me!

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