Today is the 10th anniversary of my walking regimen that I began on Friday, September 2, 2011, the gateway to the Labor Day weekend. I had finished up watering and puttering around in the yard, and, though it was hot and muggy, I decided if I was going to continue to work from home, I needed more exercise than just gardening or going to the grocery store. I was concerned for my health, as I was parked in front of the computer way too many hours and this was long before blogging became such a big part of my life, logging lots of additional online time.
Heart problems run in the family on my mom’s side – my grandmother and seven of her eight siblings died of heart disease and my mom had a heart arrhythmia …
… so, I knew I had to begin an exercise regimen sooner, rather than later, besides just my exercise bike, which use had dwindled in the warmer months. I had tried to start a walking regimen a couple of times in late Fall while still working on site, usually after all the leaves were down and putting the yard “to bed” in late October. So, I already had a sturdy pair of walking shoes, but I really only walked on a few weekends back then, as the snow arrived and the ritual fell by the wayside. So, this time I aimed to make walking a daily habit … how tough could that be anyway?
I went into the house, slipped off my garden boots and swapped them for a pair of socks and those aforesaid walking shoes.
And, so it began … just one City block on my street at first, then building up one block at a time, one day at a time, until I found a route and stuck with it. I didn’t want to risk shin splints, so I walked at a slow-to-moderate pace at first.
I bought a pedometer to begin tracking my steps and I am still using that same pedometer. Next, I bought some cushioned Thorlos walking socks to give me an added bounce to my step. I was happy to be doing something heart smart.
My morning meanders took me to the footbridge over the Ecorse Creek and back. That yielded 2 ½ miles of steps and I began jotting down my daily mileage. I walked the same route through the neighborhoods, down tree-lined Emmons Boulevard where I watched homeowners’ harvest décor go up, leaves turning jewel-toned colors, then crunching under my heavy walking shoes. Soon it was Halloween and I was amused by squirrels ravaging cornstalks and chomping on pumpkin displays. Christmas wreaths soon adorned front doors and sometimes, in the early morning, holiday lights still twinkled merrily, cheering my march down the Boulevard. The Winter of 2011-2012 was kind to me, with few snowfalls. It was serendipity that I discovered Council Point Park in April 2013, and, as longtime readers know, that is my go-to spot and favorite nature nook of all.
The neighborhood gives me a chance to hear the birds singing, or splashing away in the puddles from potholes, or in the street from all the rain and I get to see and smell the flowers along the way.
So, here I am, ten years later, still savoring my morning ritual, though admittedly, this Summer it has been increasingly tough to stay motivated. In past Summers when the temps and humidity were over-the-top oppressive, I walked the perimeter at Meijer grocery store multiple times to get my steps in. It felt great walking in the air-conditioned store and I’d wave hello to the clerks in the produce section as I ambled along the apples and sashayed past the string beans. On horribly hot mornings, I hung out in the frozen section initially to quickly cool off. This Summer, however, my Meijer store is undergoing a massive remodeling effort and it’s a little topsy-turvy there, so I’ve just dealt with the weather and grumbled about it … a lot.
Last week we had heat indices in triple digits every afternoon and the humidity, dew points and temps were oppressive. It’s been wicked some mornings, but I just go out, since soon enough there will be ice, snow and bitter cold to contend with. As you know, I savored the coolish mornings by escaping on excursions, but those mornings were few and far between. We’ve had many rainy days that spoiled a walk since mid-June. I am no fan of walking in the rain, having taken the bus to and from downtown to work and to school for three decades, where I had no choice, but to deal with the elements. I’ll walk if it’s misty, but raindrops falling on my head don’t thrill me, even if they are followed by a rainbow.
I am hanging in there and still hoping to reach my goal of 1,256 miles (2021 kilometers) by December 31st. To that end, I have been walking five to six miles daily, but I realize the later sunrise will be problematic by the end of September, then black ice, followed by snow and ice, will be my enemy. I am currently at 908 miles (1,461 kilometers). Yay me …though I’d probably have gleaned more miles had I not stopped to visit with the squirrels or take pictures of fun and fantastic chalk art along the way.
This post’s title was a quote and I will end the post with a quote:
“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring