Days 7, 8, 9 and 10: On Appreciating My Achilles’ Heel

I ran last week.

Well, I ran and walked. I alternated. But still – I ran! It felt so good!

This is basically how I feel after I run about 10 meters:


Of course,  I immediately feel better about myself once I am running. It’s just the way I am built – running (and by running I mean anything from shuffling to sprinting) is so ingrained into my being.

It’s not just a habit for me, developed over a lifetime,  it is a genetic marker developed over generations. I am the third generation I know of although I am pretty sure I come from a long line of Nordic runners.

Our Johnson family blood is the red of a tartan track.


Have you heard the myth of Achilles?


In Greek mythology, Achilles was a war hero. According to the venerable Wikipedia (because I am lazy and just want to cut and paste today):

Achilles’ most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troy. Although the death of Achilles is not presented in the Iliad, other sources concur that he was killed near the end of the Trojan War by Paris, who shot him in the heel with an arrow. Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the 1st century AD) state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Because of his death from a small wound in the heel, the term Achilles’ heel has come to mean a point of weakness in what otherwise appears to be an impregnable façade.

I have an Achilles’ heel. In fact, it is my Achilles’ tendon.


Because I have run since I was small (as in I was winning ribbons by beating the boys at our track and field day competitions in grade school) and I was a hurdler for nearly 20 years, my Achilles is pretty worn down.

I have been diagnosed with chronic tendinosis which is essentially a degradation of the tendon over time due to repeated overuse and minor tears which never healed properly.

Ouch. 😦

This is a photo of my saddest Achilles (they are both sad, but the left one is more sad lately).


What you see towards the bottom is actually my heel bone, and that doesn’t cause me any issues, believe it or not. It is the little lump above it, about halfway up, that is the issue.

[look at those chicken legs on my dog #whatthewhat???]

My tendon has suffered micro tears time and time again that have healed poorly.


The good news is, a physical therapist once told me that all the scar tissue that has built up makes it less likely to rupture (totally tear).  #silverlining

Why am I telling you this? Why is this part of my 21 Day Self Adoration Challenge?

Well, because it helps to tell the story. Scratch that – it helps to tell MY story.

Wait, once more with feeling:

It helps ME to tell my story. 

For example, my son Tosh interviewed me for a StoryCorps/class project over the holiday. It was really fun to be on the other end of an interview and to have my 11-year-old love bug do it was like whipped cream on the hot chocolate – just extra yummy goodness.

At the end of the interview, he told me it was a good interview in his opinion because I had lived such an adventurous life – with all the schools I have gone to and deciding to become a writer, among other things.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily call my life adventurous, but I suppose to many it has been. Of course, to some it has not. That is of no matter, really. Adventure is what you make it.

Truth be told, I am on an adventure right now, an adventure to appreciate my body and all it has done for me over the years. All it continues to do.

I notice that when I tell my story I soften toward my body, become more impressed by all she has done, and accomplished.

  • She has given birth to two healthy, bright, funny, athletic children
  • She has given of herself (a kidney) to another human being (my sister, who is thriving with her new kidney)
  • She set records that still stand at her high school 30+ years later #timeflies
  • She has healed herself in the best way she knew how
  • She keeps on running…

And for that, I appreciate her. She’s pretty awesome, my body.





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