When I started walking again for exercise over the summer, I never knew I would become hardcore. I am up to running most of my mileage – or at least the majority each day – and am still outside despite the wonderful upstate NY temperatures.
When I started exercising again, I began as part of the Shape Up Broome challenge. I, though, am not motivated by community wide challenges I have decided. I set up a group, got members and never entered a single step into the site. Not a good leader.
The end of September, beginning of October – after that soul searching 46th birthday – I decided I needed to be more consistent. I began with walking at least 2 miles every day. I did this for myself but also for my family and friends. I have many health strikes against me but the worst is probably the fact that both my parents are diabetics. I have carried extra weight since having six kids in ten years and well, I MUST exercise.
What I didn’t know when I started this preventative exercise to help keep at bay the lovely things heredity will one day bring on me is that I would over the last eight weeks walk and run, combined, almost 110 miles. I didn’t realize I would be compelled to purchase new running shoes and actually keep track of the mileage on these shoes.
I definitely never knew that I would walk on three state highways (NY 26, 38B, 62), four county roads and at least one small town road.
I never knew that I would spend a quick 30-45 minutes every day on a sensory tour.
I saw the change of the seasons up front. One day, I even took a slower walk, no running, so I could take my camera along and click a few shots here and there as the sun finally peaked over the hills to the east and shone on the fall leaves to the west. I saw a flock of wild turkeys parading along the forest path, heading down to the creek. I saw a white-tailed doe in someone’s garden. I was quiet enough I could have almost touched her before she turned tail and ran. I saw plenty of fuzzy caterpillars signalling the end to fall and the encroaching winter that would make me think twice about being outdoors to exercise. I have seen blue herons on the creeks nearby.
I smelled the rain, the snow one day and the scent coming from wood burning stoves and heaters starting for the first time in a year.
I heard the school busses and their children heading to school. I heard the siren from the local volunteer fire station whistle at noon. I heard, and saw, a fight between a hawk and two crows over someone’s spilled garbage. I have heard the dripping of water in the creeks when there is little to none. I have, also, heard the rushing of the water after an all night rain as the creeks are filled to the banks and then a bit more.
I have run in shorts and tank tops, tee shirts and shorts, tee shirts and warmups, and in several layers with gloves and earmuffs. I have seen the temperatures go from 80F to 29F and still have been outside to get in my exercise.
I have run past the scene of a fire a day after it happened. Several weeks later, there is still a lot of debris being hauled from this house for the garbage truck every week.
I have run past the scene of a fatal car accident. I have seen the accident re-creation crew working to figure out just what went wrong to cause this car to be put on a tow truck in pieces and for its passengers to leave the scene in either ambulances or a hearse.
I never knew that exercise would mean and be so much to me.