Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other

Three weeks ago, I set aside my forearm crutches for an experimental trip to the grocery store figuring that if I was in too much pain to get home on the bus I could always take Uber. I had to take a short break on my way up the hill to the bus stop, but the trip was a success and I started venturing out without the crutches that week, gradually going farther from home as my endurance improved. At first I couldn’t make it to my bus stop without stopping, then my limit was a quarter mile at a time before I needed to sit and rest for a few minutes, the muscles in my lower back spasming around the inflamed joints in my spine. Then things started getting better. I started making it up the hill to the bus stop in one go without that gnawing pain in my spine; I made it all the way home from my favorite breakfast restaurant with ought having to stop once even though it’s a half mile walk from my apartment. Progress.

Friday, I felt restless and needing to get out and move so I asked a friend to meet me for coffee and decided to walk the mile there rather than taking the bus. I’d planned on taking the bus home, but after enough time to sit and rest, I felt like pushing myself and walking back home. It was a lot but I managed. Yesterday, I walked the half mile to breakfast, hopped a bus to a coffee shop farther away and then talked my partner into walking the two miles home after my butt grew numb from sitting around for too long. This morning we walked out to the trail alongside the river near my neighborhood for a mile and back home and then decided to walk downtown for a drink at the coffee shop after dinner. My phone says I’ve walked three miles so far today and I still have to get home. I haven’t quite hit the ten thousand steps in one day to make my pedometer happy, but one thing at a time. I keep reminding myself that three weeks ago I was taking things one slow quarter mile at a time with breaks.

Tonight the coffee shop is bustling as I tuck into a booth with my tablet to read and sip delightfully cold iced tea. I’m tired but it’s the kind of tired that comes from having gotten out and done something rather than being bored from sitting on the couch all day. The only downside to walking so much is that my calf muscles are even more ridiculously tight then usual. It feels like all the stretching in the world won’t fix that right now but if I stretch before and after I walk that seems to help somewhat. At any rate, for now I’m enjoying slowly ambling around my city by foot and having the flexibility to hop on a bus if I bite off more than I can handle is the perfect backup plan.