September 28, 2009

You Don't Have to Run...

There are countless phrases and idioms about walking.
"...learn to walk before you learn to run."
"...walk the walk ."
"Walk the line."
"Walk a mile in someone's shoes."
It's a word ripe with metaphoric possibilities. It's also just a verb. defines walking as "to move about or travel by foot for exercise or pleasure." I like this definition. I've been traveling by foot a lot lately...primarily for exercise but the pleasure quotient is there, too. On Saturday morning, most of the pleasure stemmed from pride. Pride at taking 16,000 steps (the equivalent of eight miles) in 2 hours and 10 minutes (but who's counting?) For me, this was a huge accomplishment.

Part of my excitement comes from the doing but to be honest, more comes from the commitment. My commitment to preparing to walk a half-marathon in December. My friend/walking mentor told me that I should aim for an eight mile walk this weekend. I wasn't exactly looking forward to this solo expedition, but I did it. Yeah!

Welcome distractions from the act of putting one foot in front of the other came in bits and pieces along my route--the whirring sound of spinning wheels as fifteen brightly-clad cyclists rode by, birds, bugs and airplanes swooping overhead and collegial interactions with fellow walkers, joggers and cyclists. A nod, a "good morning" and best of all a brief chat with a fellow walker.

I passed a slightly older woman walking in the opposite direction on the first half of my trip. We smiled at each other and kept going. At the end of my walk I saw her again, climbing up the final hill by the high school. I decided to challenge myself by catching up and passing her at the top of the hill. Just as I was within a few steps, she slowed down, reached out her hand to tag the bright blue pole of the traffic signal on the corner, and turned around to head back along the same route. I recognized a kindred spirit. There is something about meeting a goal and acknowledging it in a tangible way, even if it's just touching a street sign, that's important to me, too. I smiled at her and said she'd been walking a long way. It turns out her goal on Saturday was to walk ten miles at a pace of three miles per hour. She's training for the San Diego 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk in November. That's an ambitious sixty mile walk over the course of a weekend. I wished her good luck and she did the same. I hope our paths will cross again.


Solvang Sherrie said...

Very cool!
I used to do 10ks and half marathons once upon a time...

Patty P said...

Go Maggie Go! Eight miles is a long stretch...well done!