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, March 3, 2015


Mile Marker 2540:

You want me to cross WHAT?

Wet floors, icy sidewalks, slushy streets...

The PPA should pay ME
to cross that!!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  This time of year, everything seems tough to cross!

Last week, I was fortunate enough to discover a shoveled-out parking space.  But, alas, the parking kiosk was another story.

At Mile Marker 2540, I try out CrossFit.  Luckily, it's INSIDE the gym.

But the luck ends there.  This is the craziest workout I've ever seen!

CrossFit's Workout of the Day (WOD) is a series of exercises done repeatedly, at high intensity, until your body's about to give out.  Or at least that's how it feels to a beginner like me!

Today's WOD consists of Muscle-Ups, Box Jumps, Thrusters, Toes-to-Bar, and Burpees.  If it sounds like a fancy circus act, don't be fooled.  It's more like American Ninja Warrior.   Here's a demo.

 Go Chris!!!  (Yep, that's me yelling in the background!)

Today's event is a fundraiser for Global Abilities, a foundation that helps people with disabilities get into sports and recreation.  Adaptive athletes are welcome, and I'm one of them.

My friend Todd's here too.  He's brave enough to try the first heat.

The exercises are adapted, but they're still quite a challenge!

As the timer ticks down from 15 minutes, Todd works through Pull-Ups, Thrusters, and all the rest.  I can feel his sweat and determination even from my spot behind the caution tape.   No wonder they call it a HEAT!

You rock, Todd!!!

When the buzzer goes off, he's beat... but VICTORIOUS!

I'm signed up for Heat 6.  That means about 2 more hours to wait.  Chris and I go into a back workout room to practice with a coach named Micah.

We work on adapting my exercises.  I attempt the rings (epic fail!) but it turns out I have a pretty good grip on the bar.  Guess all that rock climbing has paid off.  We decide to build on it.

My workout will include:



(See my toes?)
a.k.a. "squat lifts"

...and Burpees
(I'm pretty good at falling on the floor!)

We work on the moves for a while, but we've still got an hour before our heat comes up.  So when I find a wall of jump ropes, I take one for a spin.   I have a feeling it might be my best performance of the day...

Then I join the crowd to cheer on athletes in the other heats.  And that's when it dawns on me.

This is going to be like WORKING OUT ON STAGE.  I panic.

Squatting is hard.  Burpees are unfamiliar.  And my toes never quite reach that bar.   If you know anything about me, you know I don't do things in public until I can do them well.  For that, I'd need many, many more weeks of practice!

I tell Chris I don't think I can go through with this.

He says that's ok.  He says, "We can leave if you want to."

But we both know that's not going to happen.

When Heat 6 is finally announced, I take my place at the workout station.  Micah sets up the equipment, and Chris moves in to spot me.  The giant digital timer is set for 15 minutes.

And GO!

(Thanks to CrossFit athlete Mikaelyn for capturing it on this awesome video!!)

It's a 15-minute frenzy!

I can't remember the sequence of exercises, so Chris cues me at every turn.  He hands me the bar for squats, loops the band for pull-ups, and offers a hand for step-ups.  He even comes to my defense when Micah says to dip lower on my dips.  Now that's a great spotter :)

My heart is beating so fast I could use an extra lung.  But with challenge comes ADRENALINE!

The tougher stuff you cross, the sweeter the success.  There's something about making it past an obstacle that seemed insurmountable.  And coming out the other side.

When we leave the gym, it's snowing again.  I grab Chris's hand as we step into the slippery street.

I could probably cross it myself.
But why take the chance?

Thanks to Chris, Todd, Anna, Mikaelyn, Micah, A.J. and Global Abilities for the motivation, encouragement, and all-around amazing day!

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