From “Special” Shoes to Hiking Shoes

In grade school, I had to wear “special” shoes.  I had weak ankles and was continually spraining them, so the doctor told my parents that “special” shoes were what I needed then and probably the rest of my life.  I remember the embarrassment of wearing those clunkers when other girls wore “fun” shoes – – -they were so cute!

Around that time I began to realize that I had weak ankles, weak legs and doing much with my feet was not “what Cheryl could do!”  I lived that program for decades

As an adult, walking a beach required far more balance than I had.  When I attempted to do so, it would make me sick  – – kind of like getting sick in a car at high altitudes.  Walking on a cruise ship was scary.  On one cruise I sprained my ankle on a smooth surface and was in a wheelchair for the rest of the cruise.

I often complained about my feet and what they couldn’t do.  As Forest and I began to prepare me to climb Pikes Peak (a monumental goal), he would walk behind me to watch out for me.  He would comment on how my right foot rotated and looked weak . . . yes, in my mind, not much had changed since the “special” shoes.

Sunday we started at the base of Pikes Peak.  I had no idea what was in store for me, I simply knew my heart wanted to climb and reach the top.  So many things happened on that climb (subjects for other times).  One thing in particular stood out.

As we reached the last hour, which was climbing over rocks and around boulders, my feet changed.  Forest was climbing behind me and he commented that my right foot was no longer rolling out or going ‘weak.’

When I was no longer telling my feet what they couldn’t do, my feet began to do what I needed them to do.  My feet and my body were strong.  It was my mind and emotions that were far weaker – – – just the opposite of what I had thought all of my life!

My team encouraged me and became the “special” support for my heart and mind.  My feet and body became strong and capable. When we tackle life-long fears and limitations, it is so important to have a team that believes in us beyond what we believe in ourselves.

On Sunday, September 9, 2012 I climbed to the top of Pikes Peak in 12 hours.  Slow by the standards of many . . . but  a miracle for the woman who started in “special” shoes!

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