09 October 2013


A couple of hours ago I busted out of the joint. Yeah, the caper had been planned for weeks, the date was set in stone, the days and hours were being counted down, but I blew that out the window today. With the blessing of Dr. Foot Doctor, I jumped the gun by a few days and have declared myself free, free, free of the Dreaded Boot. But not before I had some fun, first.

The fun came Sunday morning at my local club’s annual Marlborough Main Street Mile, which is exactly what it sounds like, only better. It’s a mile, mostly down Main Street (starts around a corner), and the better part is that it’s almost all downhill. I’ve never actually run it, either because I was off racing somewhere else (it does, of course, fall in the height of marathon season), I was staffing the event instead, or I just figured that it’s too fast and too short for my usual tastes.

But when one is locked in the Dreaded Boot, fast isn’t an issue, short isn’t a problem, and there are certainly no marathons on my slate this fall. Yes, I was staffing it again, but only as the Official Data Entry Clerk, punching names into the computer as the day-of-event folks showed up. Once I’d punched in the latecomers, I had to get the data to the finish line. Considering that this is a point-to-point event and we had no networking link to transmit, it had to get there somehow, right? Quick, drop it onto the thumb drive (two, just to be safe), pop it in the pocket, and head out the door to the starting line. Just in time.

When first I stumbled from the crutches to the Boot, I had it jacked up a few levels with enough padding (to make life easier on the Achilles) to make me a good inch-plus taller, but only on one side, and therefore very clumsy. Over the past weeks, I’ve whittled those pads down to ground level, which has made the going a lot smoother. Add that to the downhill course, toss in a fellow power walker who frequents our races, and gimpy turned in a twelve minute mile. Twelve minutes of pure joy. No, I wasn’t running, but I was in spirit! And believe it or not, to my great surprise, I wasn’t last, either. So far as I’m concerned, I won my division, that being the “One Shoed” category. No trophy, but with the city’s Chowderfest only a couple hours later, who needs a prize?

But even if I’ve mastered the Speedy Gonzales version of boot wearing, it’s still boot wearing, and it’s still uncomfortable and annoying. You can’t sneak into bed late at night with all that Velcro…RIP RIP RIP! You have to lay it out in front of the fan to dry out the sweat after coming back from the gym. And you have the age-old conundrum…do I stretch the pants over it or just look like a total geek? (I usually opt for the total geek look, it makes adjusting all that Velcro easier.) The end of this time couldn’t come soon enough.

So while the target for freedom was this Friday or Saturday, depending on how you count, I figured it was time to start walking gingerly around the house bootless early this week to stretch out the tendon in preparation for the big day. While it’s still a bit sore, and while I’m still on the fence as to whether this whole thing will in fact work (but still optimistic of course), it felt pretty good all unsupported and naked (well, in slippers) like that. So after a few days, I took the plunge today and – yes! – put on a real shoe (running shoe of course) and pretended life was normal. A quick text to Dr. Foot Doctor procured the blessing, and that’s it!

Freedom has been declared!

Next Posting Department:
The John Tanner Memorial 5K will be run on Sunday, 20 October, in Wayland, Massachusetts, to honor John’s legacy and to raise funds for the charity he was passionate about, Our Promise to Nicholas. In a few days I’ll post an article with more information about the race, Nicholas, and memories of John, but for now, please put this race on your calendar, come out, and honor this fallen giant and dear friend. Detail on the race are at http://ourpromisetonicholas.com. Sign up now, and stay tuned for more on this topic.

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