Walking After a Bad RLS Night

I was up for a while last night. I don’t have any idea what triggered this particularly bad night. I took my magnesium. I think I drank enough water the day before. I’d exercised the day before, too.

But still, it was a very bad night. I writhed around my bed, halfway in a dream, not fully asleep, not awake enough to do anything about it.

A good morning for a walk

I woke up to a sunny, not too hot, summer morning. I resolved to get a good walk in with the dog before it got warmer. My neighborhood is very hilly and there’s a mini-volcano at the top with a view of the mountains on a clear day. This was a good morning for a walk with a view.

My legs did not agree

I leashed up the dog and started walking uphill out of my cul de sac. I knew right away I was not going to make it up the volcano and my heart sank. My legs were mad. My IT band was tight and complaining already. Something probably connected to my IT band down in my left calf/shin was cramping.

The dog stopped to sniff and I tried a little stretch and shook out my stiff legs. They were exhausted already. I felt that I’d been inert all night, but my legs had been busy. I considered pushing through, hoping the longer I walked, the better I’d feel. But I was already sweating in the morning sun and with exertion, I was out of breath already.

Changing my plans

I modified my walk, doing the 30-minute version that’s only uphill at the beginning and mostly shaded. As I got to the easier, flatter part of the walk, on a winding path through the woods in my neighborhood, my legs practically thanked me.

They stopped straining against the incline. They stopped cramping and whining. I could take a deep breath and look at the lovely trees. I could laugh at my dog trying to bring a giant stick home.

I am doing the best I can

I wanted to brag to someone that I’d walked up the volcano today, but who cares, really? It wouldn’t have been worth it to exhaust myself further, potentially ruining the chance for a late afternoon dog walk or my plans to go kayaking this weekend. I wanted to say my RLS doesn’t dictate my waking hours, but I need to give myself more grace and patience.

I’m doing the best I can and I exercised to the best of my ability this morning. I got outside. I got fresh air and sunshine. I got to make my dog happy, so I would try to be happy, too.

There is always tomorrow

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try again. Maybe tomorrow I’ll need a short walk. Either way, I’m okay. My worth as a human is not determined by my ability to walk up a tiny volcano, something I know intellectually.

Sometimes I need to remind myself, though, that, as much as the dog loves me even after a short walk, I need to love myself, too.

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