Looking for a way to be free of using a walker, but not risking falling or injury, led me to the thought of using Nordic ski poles to help me get around and improve my fitness. My right foot and leg were not fully functioning so going very far without something to hang on to was not a smart option. My three week follow up appointment was that week so I asked if it would be ok to use Nordic walking poles and was given the go ahead to use them, but was told to make sure to not overdo it and to keep my posture straight while using them. I already owned a pair of adjustable ski poles that I used to run with on trails to prepare for Nordic Skiing, so I was ready to go. The next day I headed out for my first Nordic walk, doubling my distance (a whopping 1/4 mile) from the previous day, stopping a couple times to rest and get the numbness out of my leg, before returning home. I was excited to finally be free of the walker, but I had forgotten that adjustable poles can sometimes slip, and a few days later I almost hit the ground when one of them collapsed.
Unless I wanted to continue to risk falling I needed to find a pair of one piece walking poles and after a little research I ordered a pair of Swix Nordic poles from skiwalking.com. A few days later the new poles showed up at my door along with a DVD on how to use them. Since I already had a XC skiing background I quickly picked up the technique and gradually increased my distance to 1/2 mile in 20 min. A tortoise pace for sure, but I knew it couldn’t get any slower.
I still wasn’t sure if I was going to the Body n’ Sole New Years Eve run until the day of the event and once I was there decided to walk 1/2 mile without the poles.
At the turn around point, pain and fatigue forced me to take a short break (holding on to a street sign) and then I slowly made it back to the store.I stayed long enough to visit and hand out prizes for the run and with the pain meds wearing off I quickly headed home to lay down on an ice pack. This was a December that I will never forget, but I’m glad that it is over.
During the month of January my distance and pace started to improve dramatically so that by the end of the month I was up to covering 1 1/2 miles at a 20 min/mile pace with a total of 40 miles. Most days, if the weather was decent I Nordic walked outside and the few times that we had ice or snow I walked inside on the treadmill. I also went back to work the week after New Years, for only 3-4 hrs at first then adding a few hours at a time until I was back to full time.
My nine week follow-up appointment was the first week of February and Dr. Harms was very pleased with my progress. I brought up my idea to possibly do the Illinois Marathon 10k in April, adding that I would be walking, obviously not running and he said that would be ok if I gradually increased my mileage. The longest I had walked at that point was 1 1/2 miles, but with the race three months away there was plenty of time to get to 6.2 miles.
To be continued………..