Thursday, January 14, 2010

Walk Like a Man... Start Today!

For 2010 I have resolved that I wouldn’t work as much as I have been (more on this when I discuss a few things I’ve been reading), at least not more than I was contractually obligated to do.  This also does not include my “other endeavors” to which I have alluded in previous posts.  I was starting to get pretty grumpy at work and people were referring to me as "the ass” so I figured that something needed to change (and fast).  So I did a bit of introspective reflecting (redundant) and determined that I was lacking something – namely exercise.
A few months ago I had been running and training for the Wild West Relay and I really felt good about myself.  Then in November the race was over and so was my training.  Now, I had every good intention to continue running and training but other things quickly found their way into the void and I soon found myself busy doing other stuff (which usually involved long stints sitting and staring at a screen) that one wouldn’t really call “being active”.  So I decided that I needed to get out and do more.  By this time I have fully lost all cardiovascular gains that I had experienced while training so I basically had to start slow again.  But walking, I’m learning, isn’t really a bad thing.
I have started taking long walks during my lunch hour.  I, being a really weak person who doesn't get motivated by anything, started out by bribing myself with something I really wanted during that period – a soda.  I mapped out my “lunch route” so that it was basically a 2.5 mile loop to McDonalds and back.  This way I could get a drink and return happy to work (with caffeine).  I’m sticking with Diet Coke so as not to destroy the positive effects of the walk so don’t worry.
I don’t know if it’s the fresh air, the freezing cold, or the fact that my brain is finally getting some much deserved O2 but I cannot believe the flood of great ideas that come to me on these walks!  It’s so invigorating.  Walking recently, the sun finally shining, gently stroking my soul (sounds kinky) back to life, I recalled the times past and my wonderful friendship I have always had with walking.
When I was a kid, growing up in the middle of nowhere NM, walking was one of the few modes of transportation we had.  When going out with my brother, uncle, or friends we would walk through the empty, dry fields and just spend hours (and sometimes days) wandering aimlessly looking for fun or trouble or both.  We usually only had enough working bikes or motorcycles for one of us so we almost always walked.  My parents were self-employed and it was only 2 miles across the old carrot fields, past the dead horse, through the “Big Ditch”, and over “The Hump” to get to the greenhouses that they ran.  I don’t know how many times we walked that path (and I don’t know how many times we walked that path, got there, and found that everyone was gone so we had to walk back home).  But even now I can smell the dirt, sagebrush, and weeds and feel the warmth of the sun radiantly heating everything.
Walking around in the arid desert of NM you learn a few things about how to walk.  For one you always look where you are going.  Nails were a plenty as the land had always “been” something before.  Either it was a carrot field, a mining camp, sawmill, barn, fence, or something of the sort.  But one thing was for certain whatever “it” was it had nails so you watched out for them.  You always looked for broken glass and rattlesnakes as well.  But cooler than that, if you watched where you were going you could almost always find something from the past or something FOR the future.  We often found arrow heads, old shoes, buried doors (that had to lead to a secret underground bunker), bottles, Marlboro Miles, or magazines.  Whatever we found it usually kept us entertained for the day and we just went with the flow – and usually invented some story to go with it.
As I got older we still would walk everywhere just because it was more fun.  Even while living in Italy we walked everywhere.  Granted Italy is more conducive to walking so maybe that’s why it was more enjoyable.  Either way, as I have walked the past few days I have reconnected with my old friend and felt the sweet freedom that comes with knowing that I can get wherever I want, using my own power and all I need to do is put one foot in front of the other.  It makes me feel so great.  I have always loved it and I now love how it makes me feel and the things it makes me remember.
Walking was how we got around.  Walking was part of how we lived.  Walking was how we played.