Running On Empty

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A few minutes ago, I did something that I’ve been wanting to try to do for a long, long time — ever since a few months after my second stroke happened, a year ago.

I put on my shoes, took off my glasses (in case I fell down), went out in the grassy (well, weedy) back yard with Bud and Max, and tried to run.

At first, my movements were very jerky and spasmodic, from one end of the yard to the other. I was using muscles that I hadn’t used in a long, long time, so they didn’t “know” how to do it correctly any more. For example, they didn’t “know” how far away the ground was, so my feet rose way too high, and then stomped onto the ground, “thinking” that it was farther away than it was. In short, my post-stroke muscles didn’t remember how to work together to be able to run.

But, each time I turned around and ran back to the other end of the yard, the coordination felt a little bit more familiar to me.

And my left arm started to feel like it was swinging naturally, instead of just flopping around.

After 8 times of running from end to end, I think I ended up with a motion that — although it was still far from smooth, graceful, or fast — everyone would recognize as “running.”

And I never fell down.

But now, the calves of both of my legs are exhausted.

Not hurting, but really, really tired and tight.

I think I should try to run, in my back yard, as often as I can. As I suspected, the more I do it, the better it gets.

And the better I get.

Now, I’m back inside, and, as I suspected, starting to make myself run has already slightly improved my ability to walk.

Back when I was walking around the block with my walker, neighbors used to joke with me, telling me that I was doing really well, and it was only a matter of time before I would be jogging past their houses.

And now, I’m beginning to think that maybe they were right.

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