I was a half marathon walker. I never liked running because it hurt my knees and my ankles. My goal was always to beat my own time, and yet, I actually beat people who called themselves runners because I am a very consistent walker. My favorite part of the race is the uphill, and I never stop until I’m at the top. Even when I hike, my favorite part is the uphill. Downhill is harder on my toes and the balls of my feet. I used to have excruciating pain when I walked a half marathon. They experimented with shooting cortizone and pure alcohol into my feet, but the best decision I ever made was to walk shorter races. I switched to 10K since the pain in my feet usually started just about mile 8. And then, of course, when Artie showed up, I switched to 5K.
After my surgery, in early October, after going through a lot of physical therapy, and then switching over to neighborhood walks (progressively longer from .5 miles to 3 miles), I signed up for the Tesoro Viejo 5K race. Doug did the 10K, but I mainly wanted to see how the 5K distance felt on my body. I did not have any aspirations about my time. I just wanted to make it to the end. I was either the last person to the finish line, or maybe the second to the last…hard to tell. BUT I MADE IT!! I walked with my cane and I did not have to stop once. My time was VERY slow.
Now that I had made it through 1 race, my husband was excited about doing the Monster Mash Dash the weekend before Halloween. It was great fun! I ran in a witch costume, again with my cane. I dropped 20 minutes off of my Tesoro Viejo time, but still was one of the last to finish the race. Seeing all of the little ones in costume, and going around to all of the spooky displays at the race was a lot of fun.
Next was the Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. My whole family comes out for this one. I had tried it the previous year, with my son, and we didn’t get very far. We sat on a divider in the road and cheered our family members on. My arthritis was still quite severe, and we were close to coming to a decision about hip replacement. But now, new hip in place, I was still whittling minutes off of my time.
The next race was the Jingle Bell Run – one of my favorites, due to everyone wearing jingle bells and Santa hats. Again I bettered my time, coming within striking distance of my previous 5K times. I had lost my job in September, and spent the whole Fall in turmoil, trying to find another one. By the time the Jingle Bell run came around, I was getting interviews with regularity, and my spirits were very high. It looked like I was on the come-back trail. But Artie had another plan.
On New Year’s Eve I received a call from one of the prisons where I had applied and interviewed. They offered me a job. I am an adult education teacher, teaching in a prison setting. This was my 3rd prison experience, and I was no stranger to what it meant. However, the prison was two hours from my home. Doug and I quickly ascertained that two hours each way was not going to happen. Therefore, we needed to find someplace that I could live up there 5 days per week. After weighing rentals and AirBnBs, the Air BnBs won out and on January 13th, 2020 we began a succession of AirBnbs in the area of the prison. Before we could get a grip on how the system worked, we were shuffled from place to place, often having the ones we liked rented out from under us.
My convalescence had been going so well, but now it slacked off. Uncertain housing, uncertain neighborhoods, uncertain safety on early morning walks, plus a lack of focus on my physical well being while getting used to a new job…all took their toll. Now my walks were relegated to walking from prison yard to prison yard, and climbing the stairs to my classroom building. But, in March other complications came along. I began to experience pain when I walked, and upon getting a hip exray on my other hip, it was found that I had developed severe arthritis in that hip. After consulting with the doctor, we determined that we would start out with drugs for pain, and then re-evaluate in the summer. My appointment with the surgeon is next week. We will either decide upon injections or another hip replacement.
It seems that every time I start to make progress, Artie is there, smirking outside the door. I have tried other tactics to stop him…which I will talk about next in A BRIEF RESPITE FROM ARTIE