A week after that epic hill expedition my legs are finally functioning normally again. Woohoo!
Last Friday was a different story. My knees decided to stop working. I never realised how useful knees were in the Art of Walking. They just wouldn’t bloody bend properly, and furthermore my calves and quads and glutes were throbbing. The overall effect was stiff and straight scissor-like gait, like an Aussie pedestrian crossing sign!
That evening Dr G and I were heading over to Edinburgh for a movie and a birthday curry. Most times when I catch the train to Edinburgh it involves me looking at the living room clock in my underwear about half an hour before the train is due and shrieking "FARK!" Then I spin around in circles, chuck on some clothes, almost gouge an eyeball with a mascara wand, run out the door, then speedwalk or jog the 20 minutes to the station, then bolt across the station carpark coz the train is always arriving just as I do.
But Friday was a wee bit different. I started getting ready two hours early, because all movements were difficult – getting in and out of the bath, bending to fetch things from the wardobe, putting on my shoes. Then I decided I couldn’t face the walk to the station with my current, painful zombie-like pace so convinced Dr G to drive us to the station.
And of course as soon as we parked the car I heard the train coming. I couldn’t make a run for it; I hadn’t even manouvered out of the vehicle yet. So the train sailed on without us. In a huff, I sent Dr G to buy the tickets so I could take my time doing my cross-country ski-walk to the platform.
Once in Edinburgh there were even more obstacles to avoid – the gruelling Waverly Steps, stairs at the cinema, stairs at the restaurant. Even little things were impossible, like crossing the street as the lights started to flash, because I knew I’d be mowed down by a double decker bus before I could hobble across. All my post-hillwalk smugness was replaced by crankiness and frustration.
Then I felt a strange little bittersweetness in my belly, remembering that this was how my life used to be all the time. The Dietgirl Logistics Department worked overtime, fretting over every move, plotting the less-strenuous route; making sure I left the house ultra early so I’d arrive somewhere before my friends so they’d never see me breathless.
Out of all the ways my life has changed from the 351lb Days I’d have to say the very best thing is Moving Without Thinking. My body automatically moves how and when I want it to (albeit accompanied by bitching and/or clumsiness). I can just enjoy the moment instead of worrying if my body can cope with the moment without sweating or chafing.
Sometimes I take that ease and freedom for granted; because everything changed so slowly that I forget how different it used to be. I’m also always trying to charge forward – not lingering on the past; busy figuring out what to do next. But those aching muscles made me appreciate that after all those years of obsessing about scale readings and clothing labels, the real joy is just moving through the day.