I’m a walker. I walk fast, I walk hard, and I walk long. The minute I got off crutches after doing a really fine job of practically pulverizing the bones in my left ankle three-plus years ago, I was walking. Not far, and not fast (at first), but flash forward six months and I was walking my first of two* half marathons. Yes, that’s me to the right, still smiling after 13+ miles.
[* I would do more if the idea of paying a $90 entry fee and ending up with yet another boxy men’s-cut performance fabric shirt with sleeves that extend past my fingertips and a color that makes me look like death (hello goldenrod, I’m talking about YOU) didn’t irritate me so much. Also irritating, the lack of actual walkers in the walking event (hello slow runners, I’m talking about YOU). But I digress.]
I find that walking is not only a great, inexpensive form of that moderate-intensity exercise we all need to get five (or more) days a week, it is also a fabulous form of transportation. I’ve hoofed it all over Manhattan, Boston, Montreal, Vancouver B.C., Victoria and Las Vegas. For two glorious weeks last year, I hoofed it around Buenos Aires
(that city is made for walking). It is a most excellent way to travel, in my opinion.
At home in Seattle, my motto is: “Why sit when I can stand, why stand when I can walk?” I’m a big user of public transportation, yes, but if my destination is less than two miles away, frankly, I’d rather walk than wait for a bus.
For reasons that remain illogical to me, my sentiments are apparently shocking to others. If I had a nickel for every time a coworker expressed surprise that I walked 10 blocks to meet my husband for lunch or (gasp!) walked twice that distance—uphill!— to go to class, well, I’d be sporting a new pair of Nikes right about now.
So, imagine my reaction when an equally walk-happy friend told me how much trouble she has getting her coworkers to walk two blocks to go get coffee. TWO BLOCKS. Now, there is a hill involved, but, again, it’s TWO BLOCKS. And the uphill part is only one way. She suggests walking and, without fail, they suggest driving. TWO BLOCKS!!
Aieeeeeee! Just thinking about it makes me crazy. The irony is that one of these female coworkers used to be, as my friend put it, “about your size.” In other words, normal weight. She is now, in my friend’s words, “much heavier.” Is it any wonder, when someone won’t walk two blocks. TWO BLOCKS. (OK, I’m done doing that.)
The person in question also uttered the words “I hate exercise,” but that’s something I’ll pounce on in a future post.
On the flip side, my faith in humanity was boosted by a Tale Of Another Acquaintance. This person lives in downtown Seattle, within several blocks of work. He drove everywhere, even short distances, and took the bus when he didn’t drive. Then he sold his car. Little by little, he started walking more places just to get from point A to point B. Now, he walks all over the place. I tell, you, hearing that makes my sneaker-clad toes tingle and my hill-conditioned heart go pitter-pat!
Last term, I was so crazy busy working full time and taking 11 credits of science classes during the dark days of winter that some of my “formal” exercise fell by the wayside. What saved my behind (literally), was that I made sure to stay active. Walking places I needed to go, walking to a bus stop several blocks away if I had a few extra minutes to spare.
I’m happy to return to my regularly scheduled exercise programming now that the craziness is dialed down a notch (Oh, how I love my Distance Learning classes, let me count the ways), but it’s good to know that, when in a pinch, I have options.
Hey, the sun’s out. I think I’ll go for a walk!