Today was my first attempt at running outside. No treadmill. I tried to have zero expectations. I really tried. But when my foot drop showed up 1/3 of a mile in to the run and I started to feel extreme disappointment, I realized I did have some expectation after all.
I guess I expected it to be more like running on the treadmill. It was nothing like it. Entirely different, in fact. I was surprised. And a lot disappointed. I did not expect the foot drop to show up so soon. And let me tell you, I had felt really ridiculous and self-conscious from the very beginning, so the foot drop didn’t help. I felt like a three-legged duck.
So the foot drop was there, looming, threatening to put me flat on my face. I tripped on my toes a few times, but continued running anyway. Because I gotta get home somehow, right? And this run was really just a test to see what pace I run when I don’t have the treadmill telling me how fast I’m going. There was one trip about halfway through the run that almost took me down, but I caught myself and immediately decided to walk for a bit to allow me to rest my legs (and sooth my ego). Then I started running again. Slowly, and with small steps, SLOOOOOW-motion for sure, but I was moving! And not falling. My biggest fear is falling.
You know what though? Falling is not failing. If I fall, I can’t take the blame for it. My body chooses to do things without my permission. But I can choose to focus on what is within my control. I can keep moving. The more I move, the more I stay at it, the stronger my legs will be, the stronger my core muscles (needed for balance!) will be, and it will get better. I know this is true because I am doing more than I ever thought was possible even a year ago. I am pushing my body slowly, one day at a time, to go a little bit farther. This is one big test, to see what this body is capable of. And I am thanking the Lord that it’s not disappointing me.
I have a 5k race in less than 2 weeks. I have revised my goal slightly after today’s run outside. It was initially to finish in less than 40 minutes. I’m not sure if I can do that in two weeks, so my goal now is simply to finish. Period. Run, walk, crawl, whatever it takes. I will finish this race. And then I will continue on. I will keep running. I will keep pushing. This is not just a 5k I’m training for. I am training for my health.