I am dopey.
No, truly. I’m officially Dopey.
I completed my (modified) Dopey Challenge this weekend. The runDisney Dopey Challenge is where runners complete a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon… on four sequential days. Not only does it add up to 48.6 miles, but it includes four very early morning wake up calls, a challenge unto itself.
Well, Kenny (my bionic foot), wanted to participate. But he has some doctor ordered limitations. Kenny, while he has done well healing from plates, screws, incisions, and bone grafts, is not supposed to run. The repeated impact may just be too challenging for him still. But that didn’t stop us from training what we could.
I decided, in a feat of defiant joy and hope about a year ago, to sign up for the Virtual Dopey Challenge. This means that I could record my own time and didn’t have to abide by the 16 minute per mile pace requirements of the in person runners.
So we trained. I started riding a stationary bike to build up endurance. I bought new shoes. I began walking longer distances more frequently to improve my gait pattern, muscles, and weight bearing tolerance. I planned to walk the Dopey Challenge’s required miles between January 1 and 21 of this year. I calculated how many miles per day that required and I invited others to walk with me whenever they were able. This was not a solo race. It was a team event.
Kenny, as I have affectionately called my reconstructed left foot, is a trooper. A year ago I graduated from physical therapy. At the end of 2021, I was thankful that I came so far since surgery, but still had a limp, weakness, and pain which plagued me consistently. This is why signing up for this race was an act of defiant joy. I had no indication that it would go well. I had no confidence that we would finish. But there is some grit deep inside of me that wants to fight back. I know that the anniversary of my surgery may always be an emotional date for me, but instead of just accepting that consequence, I choose to make it a day to celebrate instead. Last year I had a birthday party for Kenny on his “first birthday”. This year, I crossed the finish line of the Dopey Challenge and had a celebratory photo shoot with all my earned medals.
I was able to take time during my Dopey Challenge to be thankful for where I am. I can walk some days without pain. I can walk consistently for three weeks in a row without needing to ice my foot or take Advil like I regularly did a year ago. I can celebrate that my hope for continued healing, my grit to fight, and my desire to push myself was rewarded.
Running has taught me a lot about life. Some miles are hard and you struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Some miles are breezy and you think your feet can move forever. In life, we will always experience both. Joy and lament. Ease and difficulty. When I am in a season where I don’t feel like I have much strength, or I’m experiencing pain, or I can’t see the finish line, I invite people to walk with me and we take the next step together. We don’t run alone.
And sometimes, you get to celebrate with a rad photoshoot at the end of all the effort with your favorite Bionic Foot. Good job, Kenny. Let’s keep moving forward.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…