Found on the trail: the adverbial achilles heel

*Note: this post is part of a 20-day writing prompt 101 program I’m participating in. Today’s Prompt: “Go to a local cafe, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see. Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post.”

Finish Line

Finish Line

I can feel it coming. The familiar ache, about to crescendo into a full-blown throb. Just above the calcaneus (heel bone) of my left foot: Achilles Tendinitis.

Sigh. Not again. Not now. Not today, please! Not when the sky could be mistaken for one giant lapis gemstone, save for the single white motionless cloud teetering between a canopy of yet-to-bud deciduous trees. Its hue is bluer, even, than the HoneyBucket porta potty on the partially paved trail just outside my window.

I want to run.

For three straight months I shivered. Waited. Begged Mother Nature to grant mercy on me and my fellow New Englanders, who weathered a series of epic storms. I’m not asking for much. Not a PR. Nor a shot at entry into next week’s venerable Boston Marathon. I want a half hour spin in my new Brooks Ravenna 6s. That’s all.

Last week’s run rocked. Five miles, no stopping. No pain. No panting or gasping. But today, the clearest, warmest, and most smile-inducing day I’ve woken up to since arriving, I’m landlocked. The ten steps required from bedroom door to kitchen coffeemaker feel like mile 26.

Twice I’ve gone to battle with Achilles Tendinitis – once retaliating with weekly rounds of acupuncture and anti-inflammatory herbal concoctions prescribed by Dr. Gao in 2001; the second time gritting my teeth through mile 18 of the Portland Marathon as an invisible dagger sliced into my tender tendon in 2010. Haven’t I done my time in tendon hell?

Apparently not. So I sit, with an ice pack framing my Achilles tendon, watching the flurry of activity outside. And fantasize about the next time I get to high five that guy in the fluorescent orange minimal shoes gliding across the asphalt; nod in solidarity with the just-back-to-jogging lady about my age trying to hold a smile as she shuffles in the opposite direction; stop and massage the ears of the Golden Retriever pup eager to jackknife the path of anyone heading his way.

I’ll heal. And appreciate my Achilles heel for where it’s been. And where it will go.

 

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3 thoughts on “Found on the trail: the adverbial achilles heel

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