Thursday, 30 August 2012

It will take me a while to get the hang of this "walking" thing

Photo courtesy Everydaylifemodern, licensed CC-BY-SA-ND
I went for another walk last night, and it was a struggle getting out the door.  I had a whole series of good reasons why I did not need to walk - - it was getting dark, my legs hurt, I needed to get groceries ... in the end, I tricked my brain and just went out for the walk, before my brain had a chance to form a coherent objection.  Sometimes the biggest obstacles to getting healthy are all mental.

I ended up walking north all the way to Carlton Street, then over one block east, then turned south again to return home.  I walked 2.2 miles in 50 minutes, which is one of the faster paces I have ever done, and my second longest walk (likely ever, but certainly since I began working out in January).

Which is amazing considering I had the poor judgment to pick a street with multiple university buildings on it, and I kept having to walk behind, around, and through groups of freshmen who were going through frosh week.  It's times like that I am glad that I am a bitter old crone - - you could not pay me enough money to be a first year university student again.  Although it would be nice to have all my bits point up, like they did when I was 19, rather than down, as they do now.  Ah, gravity, you cruel, cruel mistress.

Coming home, however, I noticed that my calves and quads ached from the effort of walking, and I was a little wheezy after my walk.  I haven't wheezed in a long time - months, in fact.  And given that I work out 6 times a week on the elliptical machine for 35 minutes, I was surprised that I felt the walk so much in my legs.  I guess it's true what they say - - walking uses different muscles than the elliptical.  Apparently muscles I have never used before. 

And these muscles get fatigued.  I noticed last night that when I turned for home, I had to be more careful to lift my feet, because I was tired and more prone to scuffing my feet, which is an invitation to trips and falls when wearing hiking shoes.  Take it from me, you Do Not want to scuff your feet in grippy shoes.  Don't ask me how I know this, but it may involve a face plant into a doorframe at my office last year.

This walk, like all my walks, felt tougher than my elliptical workouts.  I am not a natural walker - - my stride is too bouncy and energy inefficient, kind of like a demented kangaroo. I always feel like I am very purposefully striding forward and walking at a very brisk pace, only to discover that I was walking at 2.5 - 2.8 mph - - a veritable stroll.  I am probably losing a lot of speed in my vertical bounciness. 

But I notice that each walk I am able to walk farther, faster.  Still feels like hell on my legs when I am walking, and my legs ache when I stop, but each walk is a little tiny bit better.

My objective is to be able to comfortably walk 3 miles in a single stretch, as this is what the Nerd's mother does on her grim death marches through the neighborhood.  I want to be able to say "yes" when she asks if I would like to go for a walk, without being afraid of not being able to keep up, or do the distance.

One step at a time.

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