My Left Foot

At high noon I am off in every direction.  The heart of me shooting skyward, the soles of me pressing down into scarred pavement, the eyes of me dead set on a hazy horizon.

I follow the feet, because they have always been the most down to earth.  I ask questions of the gut because it’s entertaining in its grumpiness.  I set up camp in my head, because, like a crane operator, it moves this unwieldy body with a precision that can’t be matched.

From my high perch I have a good vantage point.  I can see my legs in motion below me and my breath in tiny clouds just outside my mouth. 

I’m a runner.  This is my form.  This is my body.  These are my streets.  This is my speed.

It’s not the speed I’ve known, or might know – it’s a slower, settling-back-in speed that disappoints my spirit.  My spirit has been running negative splits ever since it unleashed on the universe – my lungs… my lungs are much more sensible than that.

My legs, too.  And my left foot.

The doctors say that the FHL tendon in my left foot is stretched like taffy. Pulled asunder. Separated.  Stretched.  Useless. 

Back when I was new and shiny, the FHL used to bend my big toe, but those days are over now and the toe remains defiant and straight as an arrow. 

No matter.  We’ll run anyway.  The other body parts and I have held a meeting and voted to keep moving forward, with or without the cooperation of the large knuckle of the left big toe.

After all, there are miles to accumulate and new places to be seen.

There are escapes to be made.

Within the confines of our lives it’s too easy to find the walls washed with the color of mediocrity and complacency.  Give up, give in, stay in, or just go home (if you haven’t already)…why bother?


Each step is a victory, every foot strike a triumph.  Every smile given in passing is a new life touched.  Every runner’s wave exchanged a momentary connection – felt, released, then stored.  Every new path is an absolution.  Every changing mile is an introduction of new factors, fresh input, surprising circumstance.

Go out into the world.  Be startled.  Be inspired.  Move outside yourself.  Push on your walls.  Reach.

However you do it, just go out and make your escape.


PS – This blog entry has been entered in the January Write Away contest over at Scribbit.


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  1. Well done, I’ll have to show this to my husband who lives for long-distance. I had to place a vote for Asics on his behalf :)

  2. Heidi
    I’ve said it before, but you really know how to create art with words as your medium. Don’t ever take your gift for granted. Keep working on it the way you work at fitness.

    I’m inspired again.

  3. I love the image of all the body parts getting together and overruling that darn left toe. Mind over matter, and more.

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