So I got a set of walking poles, because I was sick and tired of my hip keeping me off the road; I love the gym but there is too much gorgeous air out there and it won’t last forever. (I mean that as a comment on approaching winter, not a statement about fossil fuel pollution, but both factors bear consideration.)
You can look up beaucoup videos online about how to use these things, but I just winged it.
Mile One: I have now adjusted the poles about 8 times. I think they are finally at the right height, which is a lot lower than I expected. They no longer skitter on the sidewalk and I have not impaled my foot once (close doesn’t count). I am ready for a set of pullups on the jungle gym providentially situated along my favorite route. Children look at me funny.
Mile Two: I am more out of breath than I have been in ages. Part of this is salting-in, analogous to the exhausting thrash of a tyro swimmer trying to stay afloat. I collapse against the nearest retaining wall, extract my cell phone and call to notify my Albino Ex, who complained the last time I spoke to him that it was getting harder to get a good workout. Even after a couple of minutes of fumbling with the phone, which kept wanting to send a text, I can barely get the words out. This is a good sign.
Mile Three: I think I have it. The support from the pole means my rehab hip, which reminds me daily how long I walked around with it half dislocated, doesn’t clock out in midstride and overload the muscles that weren’t injured. I have been longing to get back to the fine swiveling butt-swing of a long stride. Dogs move out of my way. My hands are going a little numb from overgripping the poles at first, but that will pass, now that the movement is travelling fluently up my arm. I am getting a salutary burn in the triceps. I have become a quadruped. Look out, cats.
Mile Four: Feck. Left gluteus minimus just clamped down on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve root. There is a hot wire running down the front of my thigh right to the ankle and it has a friend running to my groin. Over-enthusiasm. I never learn. Going up hills changes the gait, which helps a little, but I don’t like to imagine the faces I am making. I am going to be late for work.
Home: My first client, a lumbar spine sufferer, graciously consents to lie back and listen to the Gregorian chant on my stereo, while I hobble up the stairs and fly through the sprinkler, before dressing and starting his session ten minutes behind schedule. A runner, he knows all about self-destructive workout instincts.
I’m still breathing hard as I struggle into my work fugs.
This idea has legs. Not as many as the centipede, but I am onto something.