Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some Get Rained Out

Mile Marker 255:

My ex-boyfriend "Darren" was a fan of motivational proverbs.  

He memorized quotes from Vince Lombardi to Leo Buscaglia.  It was cute and quirky at first, but it quickly turned tedious -- and especially irksome during spats.

We parted ways almost 20 years ago, but from time to time one of his adages still pops into my head and just won't leave.

Mile 255 was one of those times.

You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out.

Pitter, patter.  I heard it from the moment I woke up this morning.  It was supposed to rain later in the day.  That’s probably what planted the seed.

I wouldn't be able to walk outside this afternoon, so I planned to load up on miles early.  While my energy was high and the terrain was dry.

At 8 a.m., I debated walking to the rehab gym.  

It’s only three blocks.  But one of them is shadowed and lonely, with a highway overpass above and parking lots all around.  It's deserted in the early morning.

I dread walking there.  If someone were to sneak up on me, I couldn’t run to escape.  When I wear shorts, my Genium's exposed for all to see.  

I am a (slowly) moving target.

This is what I think about.

But as I stepped out of the house, car keys in hand, something caught my eye.

A man in a motorized wheelchair passed my corner, cruising through the crosswalk toward the rehab gym.  Maybe he'd just gotten off the bus.  Or maybe he lived nearby.

Either way, his passage pumped me up.

I wanted to tell him.   But by the time I'd turned that corner, he was motoring a block ahead.  I wished I had the speed to catch him!

Under the shadow of the highway, I walked as quickly as I could.  Glancing from side to side, checking the pavement for ruts, looking purposefully straight ahead. 

Near the end of the block, I almost tripped over a red lump on the ground.  A Santa hat.  Loosely knit, tasseled, and trimmed in white.  They’d gotten Santa, but they weren’t going to get me!

Finally inside the gym, I hopped onto the treadmill for my routine 20 minute walk.

You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out.  You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out.

With each step, that rhythm beat under my sneakers.

Afterward during mat exercises, a young, soft-spoken woman told me she was going to the hospital.  She’d fallen over the weekend and needed her doctor's approval before continuing therapy.  I felt for her.  She'd gotten herself up and dressed this morning.  She'd gotten her body into her wheelchair and her wheelchair into the car.  She'd looked forward to her therapy session and other activities of the day.

It was only nine a.m., and already her day was rained out.

You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out.

In these circles, it just takes ONE event.  One false move and the game's called off.

When I got home, I researched that famous line.  Turns out, it goes like this:

You win a few, you lose a few.  Some get rained out.  But you got to dress for all of them.

It's a quote by “Satchel” Paige, a long-time player in baseball’s Negro leagues, and the oldest player to be signed to the major leagues -- at age 42.

In 2010, Sports Illustrated called Paige the “hardest thrower in the history of baseball.”   Apparently, for 15 years he threw nothing but “ludicrously hard” fastballs.  He pitched complete games -- hundreds of innings -- day after day.  Some believe he was the most precise pitcher ever.

And from what I read, he PITCHED HARD off the field, too.   He fought for racial equality in baseball.  When Jackie Robinson was the first black player signed to the major leagues, Paige had laid much of the groundwork.

I liked his hard-headedness.  I liked his strength, especially on this rainy day.

I felt for my friend at the gym as she wiped away a few tears and tried for a hopeful smile. 

“See you later in the week," she said to me.

You win a few, you lose a few.  Some get rained out

For all those times Darren approximated that line, he forgot the last part :  But you got to dress for all of them.

That's the key, I think.  Especially on days we don't get a chance to play.

I made it home before the rain started.  And now this rainy day has a lot going for it.  It's Winter Break, so there's no school.  There's good music on the radio.  And water's boiling for tea.

Like my friend at the gym, I'm looking forward to sunnier days later in the week.

But it's definitely not a rain-out when INSPIRATION is pitched so hard before 9 a.m.

Thanks to Life Magazine for the photo :)


  1. Thanks for the reminder! I need to just shut up and get back out there. No doubt, you'll make a thousand miles, maybe more, by November 9th! Looking forward to seeing your progress here! Keep walking, keep blogging!

  2. You are the bright spot in my day....always one of them!