Hakuna Matata?

Brad Rassler’s quest continues

So this guy limps into Vermont…

thatchingI traveled to the East in May with high hopes of using the Green Mountains as my aerobic proving grounds, but developed a case of Achilles tendonitis that has hamstrung my midlife comeback story. It’s nobody’s fault but mine. Rather than adhering to Julie’s running program, I followed my own flawed Phidippides muse and hopscotched from hour-long gambols to 2.5-hour trail runs: too fast, too far, too soon. Now running is out of the question. Even cycling hurts (although compression socks seem to help a tad). This makes me sad. When I launched into the Live Longer program in February, I expected to suffer from the redemptive pain of reactivating dormant muscles, but this chronic, tendonal variety is a horse of a different color, and it sucks. And from what I’m told, it’s long-lived.

The reminders of my laming occur daily. Each morning I swing my legs out of bed and stand on feet so immobilized by stiff ankles that it takes two minutes of shambling to get them to flex. I was in Golden and Boulder, CO this week for a conference at The American Alpine Club and was invited to run with a Sherpa and Swede, and had to decline. A procession of whippet-thin cyclists and runners passed me each morning as I hobbled between the Colorado School of Mines and the American Mountaineering Center, and I was left with a contrail of memories about fast days gone past. I desperately hope to reclaim a bit of that kind of fitness. But not this year. Not this year.

(Photo caption – Brad Rassler thrutching through krummholz after climbing Mt. Washington’s Henderson Ridge)

Yes, I’m whinging; I own it. Many beset with troubles heroically focus on the positive and prevail. I’m fortunate to have what I do. Ironically, I’m spending my waking hours writing about mountaineers overcoming privation and maiming to gain unclimbed summits. I should take note…

And it’s not like it’s been all sad sack stuff. I’ve had some ok if not achy days on both road and mountain bikes and I’m activating my hips and climbing rock (although the emphasis I’ve put on leg-sports the past 10 years has me looking more like the hakuna matata meerkat Timon Berkowitz than Mighty Mouse).

I’ll start wending my way home from Vermont in a couple of weeks and launch into the fall semester at UNR. I’m still planning on completing the promised day-long denouement to celebrate revivification, but I’m not prepared to cause further injury in the doing of it.

A circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe by Segway?

Nous Allons!