I sprained my ankle really badly the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I do all sorts of stuff with my body, but I didn’t sprain my ankle running or riding my bike or doing weird stuff at the gym. I sprained it walking down my own front steps, just a slip, my ankle bent all the way sideways, me in a lump on the sidewalk in front of my house. Ankles are tricky joints–like teeth and knees, a real design problem–and over six weeks out, it’s still a little swollen. Bodies, man! They are so good at giving us challenges and forcing us to listen to them, whether we want to or not.
So I listened, and I stopped running, even though I was over halfway through with my running plan and really into the steady three-day-a-week groove. Running is really hard for me, and I love the challenge of it and the way it makes me feel in my body, but nope, my body said no. But what if it’s time to say yes? I love running when it’s cold out, especially since I hate riding my bike when it’s cold out, and I want to be outside every day. Running is hard, but it is also so easy for me–strap on a sports bra and some tights, a shirt, and a hat, lace up my shoes, and I’m off.
But first I needed new shoes, so Wednesday’s bike ride took me down the hill and over to Fells Point to the local running shoe store for yet another pair of Brooks Adrenaline shoes. I could have easily ordered these from a zillion online shops and not bothered leaving my house, but I want local running stores to exist. This store sold me my first pair, mid-radiation treatment, and those shoes have been so good to me and my body. I am grateful, and I want others to get to stumble in there, get fitted for shoes, and unexpectedly discover that running is something they can do and might even really love. That will not happen at the amazon dot com. I can afford to shop there and am able to get down there, so that’s where I get my running shoes, and if you can do those two things, please do. I mean, we aren’t going to shop ourselves out of the horrors wrought by capitalism, but at least we can keep our local shops afloat.
I hadn’t ridden down to Fells Point in a minute, and as soon as I was on my way I remembered why it is so important to me to ride around the city regularly, and not just my own neighborhood. I’m a slow walker and runner, so I usually stay within a tight radius for those activities. On my bike, I can get to so many different places in 30 minutes. And when I’m riding, I’m looking up and out. I’m not listening to music or checking my phone or talking to people. I’m paying attention to cars, to streets, to what has changed and what hasn’t. I am reminded, again, that I am just one tiny person living one tiny life in one tiny neighborhood. It is shocking to me how quickly I can forget.
After grabbing my new running shoes and tossing them in my backpack, I walked around the water for a bit and snapped this picture of the water. I can forget how many different kinds of beauty we get in Baltimore, and it was a gift to see this view on a balmy 40 degree day, all alone except for the occasional thwap-thwap of other people running by. I spent some time staring down some geese and then it was time to get back on my bike and work my way up the hill to home. Still so much construction on Central Avenue, I can’t believe that super fancy Blk Swan restaurant’s just next to a Dunkin’ Donuts, sorry, cars, I know you wish I weren’t taking the lane, but I’m taking the lane, pedal, pedal, pedal, and I was home again.
And I took my shoes out for a run/walk the next day, and it was glorious. I know this little loop around my house so well, and paying close attention the same streets every single day, I like doing that, too. Thank you, body, for what you can do, even when sometimes you can’t do what my mind wishes you could.