Happy Monday kids! I wanted to call today’s column Inspiration Monday because well, it’s a place we all know well. Monday – also known as the day on which our dreams sometimes begin (and sometimes end) for our weeks of healthy activity, good eating, and finding life balance.
It all sounds so impossible sometimes, doesn’t it? I say this as a woman who is currently sitting in a hotel room, working for the 10th hour in the day, about to go to a (I’m sure wonderful) working dinner with colleagues, which will terminate sometime before I begin sleeping in my soup.
But if I manage to stay awake, tomorrow morning, I’ll be cruising (early. very early) to get a glimpse of the Arch de Triumph or maybe just the Seine. It’s a good life I’m in right now, and I’m looking forward to exploring Paris a bit on foot.
As many of you know (and are probably tired of hearing), losing a little bit of mobility has driven me to the slight edge of insanity over the past twelve months. Arriving in London bike-less and unable to run, it’s been even harder for me to find that balance. And yet, I found myself so very, very grateful these last few months just to have that simple act of walking become a part of my daily life again. When I think of the joy of walking without pain – well, it makes me so much more aware of everything we stand to lose.
Do you ever wonder what it might be like to lose that mobility we all take for granted? Does it ever seem unimaginable? So it’s doubly hard, then to imagine what it must be like to have lost it – and found it again.
Today’s Health section in the NYTimes profiles one such athlete, John Carson, who was struck while training a few years back. Diagnosed with a severed spine, he took his inspiration from Lance Armstrong, Grete Waitz, and Alberto Salazar, and committed to racing in whatever way he could, whether that meant wheel-chair, hand-cycle, or – as it currently does – on two legs he can’t quite feel.
He is, quite simply, an amazing man, with an amazing story. And yet – keep reading. Because somewhere in that brief summary by Tara Parker Pope is an athlete like the rest of us – (or some of the more dedicated ones we have known) who is now transitioning to find a quieter, more manageable way to fit training into his life. He’s finding he has limits, and he’s going to work within them. He’s done with Ironmans this weekend (I know, right?). He’s going to spend more time with his wife, maybe start a family. He’s going to go back to “average” training, and an “average” life. But he’ll know what we all know – and sometimes just forget: that every day we have where we are healthy and able is a gift. And that we should use it to the best possible means we have.
So get out there. Go for a walk, or a swim, or just challenge your kid to a game of soccer. Get sweaty and red-faced, and maybe even pull a muscle or two. You’ll survive. Your body is built for it. Take advantage of it. And then say thank you.
See you on the path…..