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!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kidding Around

Mile Marker 298:*

Remember those raucous relay races from gym class?

How in t-shirts and shorts, we lined up single file along the polyurethane floor?   And how we all let out a choral groan as the teacher set down wooden blocks, two at a time, on opposing sides of the gym?

How the first person took off like bullet as the whistle blew?  Scrambled across the room, grabbed one block, ran it back to the starting line, and then set out to do the same thing over again?   How we all leaned sideways -- our hands outstretched -- bubbling with energy to run the exact race in reverse?

Were we crazy?

If you've never experienced a shuttle run, you can breathe a sigh of relief.  You escaped a rite of passage in the elementary school curriculum.

But I must point out you also missed a bit of FUN.

On Sunday – the coldest afternoon so far this winter --  I met up with my young friends Eric and Chad, who were happy to be enjoying a holiday weekend away from their Tennessee grade school.   They were staying with their parents, my friends Marla and Tim, at a hotel in Delaware.

The temperature outside hovered around 20 degrees, so we brainstormed a way to log a mile together --INDOORS.

Chad suggested walking on every floor.  Then Eric thought of tagging the wall at the end of each hallway.   

The “Sheraton Shuttle Run” was born!

The five of us eagerly hopped into the elevator and pressed 2.  The whistle had sounded.  We were off.

But I move slowly.  And like kids too wise for their years, Eric and Chad spotted the monotony of this game before we'd even reached the third floor.    

So we began taking big steps and small ones.  Tim turned Chad upside-down.  Eric cross-checked him into the wall.   We crab-walked and walked backwards.  They ran ahead.  My Genium and I leaped like a clumsy ballerina to keep up.

By the fourth floor we became detectives, noticing variations in the heating system, examining each hallway for minor aberrations in wallpaper and doors.  We spotted a double helix pattern on the carpeting.  We read graffiti scribbled on housekeeping carts.

Somewhere around the fifth floor, we came up with an idea that would rock the hotel world!  A room with a see-through floor so you could watch guests swimming in the hotel pool below.  (And then, of necessity, we invented a retractable “floor curtain” so the swimmers couldn’t watch you getting dressed above them!).

Between floors in the elevator, I knelt down to stretch my hip.  Like good sports, Eric and Chad followed suit.

In 35 minutes, we paced out ALL 7 STORIES.  Twice.

And when our journey was complete, we’d done ONE MILE.

I don’t get to see these guys often, but Marla and I grew up together.   We burned paper plates in the microwave, trampled around France, and stayed up all night laughing more times than I can count.  Marla knows the value of fun.  And clearly, she’s taught her boys well.

It was a good reminder to me, too.

Day to day, life isn't always fun.  But it was nice to escape on Sunday.  

What began as an afternoon with out-of-town friends became a mini-vacation.

We all know shuttle runs don’t get you anywhere -- physically.  But mentally, it seems, they can take you miles!

Maybe they're not just kids' stuff!

*By the way, it was actually Mile 298, but the room numbers didn’t go up that high.  So the boys chose the 305 sign instead.  What can I say?  They're kids...

Don’t want the fun to stop?   

Check out the new CONTACT ME e-mail at the top of this page.  Now, with a click, you can drop me a line!   So send a message, make a date for walking, or just say HI!  If you’re having trouble leaving comments on the blog, send them to me, and I’ll post them for you!

Stay tuned for the 300’s….  No kidding!


  1. Awesome!!!! Also, look at the television spots on nyp.org for Matt Long. He was a patient at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and participated in the television ads that we do... Ricky, I love reading your blogs. Your outlook and determination are so inspirational. Keep 'em coming! Thoughts with you, Karen Kurtzberg Wish

  2. Ricki, we had fun had walking with you. We really liked the crab-walking and the stretching in the elevator.
    Eric and Chad

  3. Ricky,
    Why not end your walk in Europe ?
    We will be very happy to walk with you in our old pavements and drink a fresh beer or fresh champagne to celebrate your ENORME COURAGE !
    On t'aime.
    Christelle & Hervé

  4. 300 miles!!!! Just six more and you've made it all the way to BOSTON!