Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Opinion: Get out and run

June 1, 2006

Last week I had my leg braces refit for the first time since having foot surgery in March.

The braces help me balance and provide extra cushioning for what's left of my feet, which is necessary because of all the soft tissue I lost during my battle with meningitis.

Let me tell you, getting the new padding put in my shoes last week gave me quite a rush. They felt so comfortable, in fact, that on the way out of the clinic I tried a couple of awkward jogging strides (after making sure no one was looking, of course).

In running a few yards I found that pushing off to start the stride felt OK, but landing was very awkward. With no toes to catch the ground it seemed to take forever for my feet to come down, and it threw off any running rhythm that I might have remembered.

Still, those few stumbling, plodding jogging strides felt great, and as I walked the rest of the way to my car I realized it was the first time in more than two years that I had run at all.

Running is one of those things I never thought I would miss, but have found that I miss it desperately.

There is something intoxicating about just letting your legs go, hearing the rhythmic crunch of gravel underfoot and watching the pavement fly by beneath you.

Unfortunately, because of the tenderness of my stubby feet I'm still a long, long way from being able to partake in such fun.

Just days after I got the braces refit my feet were plagued by two painful blisters because I had been pushing the limits of my walking distances.

Right now my feet can take about half a mile at a time. The doctors don't know if they'll get stronger, because I'm not a "textbook case."

This leaves me with the very real possibility that I will never run a 5K race in my entire lifetime.

Five kilometers really is not all that spectacular, it's basically two and a half miles and anyone in decent physical condition ought to be able to do it. But, for whatever reason, I never entered a 5K before my amputations and now, for very good reasons, I can't.

But, I would imagine there are a whole lot of people in the Basehor area who are more physically ready for a 5K than me. And even if they haven't done one before, now's the time.

Jeff Venema has set up a great opportunity to get the community together, help out the local library and get some valuable exercise all at the same time.

Venema's inaugural Dairy Days 5K fun run is coming up on Saturday, June 3, and there's still time to register.

Forms are available in Basehor at Basehor-Linwood High School and Casey's General Store, in Bonner Springs at Price Chopper and at all sorts of sporting goods stores at Legends.

But the best way, at this point, to get in is to go online to www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1325673 and register there.

According to Venema, there's little reason not to enter. Run if you want to, but everyone is welcome to register even if they just want to walk, push strollers, or take the dog out. The cost is just $20, which all goes to the library, and you get a race T-shirt to prove you took the plunge.

So get out and participate. Celebrate your ability to walk, jog or even full-out run. It doesn't seem special now, but some day it might.

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