I just got back from a six-mile walk. Now to some that might not be a big deal but to me it is quite astounding. As a young woman with a family I actually exercised all the time and kept pretty fit. I practiced Yoga mostly but was also very busy in my flowerbeds and vegetable gardens. I have been retired now for ten years and have fallen woefully behind in my fitness upkeep.
But now eight years after moving to my new home I have had an epiphany of sorts. I received my Medicare card in the mail the first of February and boy was that a jolt. Now I have never really fixated on age because well, actually I’m not really sure why I just haven’t. My grandmother, who lived to a very healthy 88, followed the adage that you are only as old as you feel. She never felt old so I guess I never did either.
I watched my friend Lorraine run the Disney Marathon in January and was totally amazed at her and all the others that were walking or running and could see so many people in the crowd that were my age or better and there I stood, a spectator.
Just being a spectator though proved to be painful, as you had to get from viewing point to viewing point lickety-split in order to see your person along the way. So here I am running from monorail stop to monorail stop just to catch a glimpse of Lorraine or just perhaps have her stop for a few seconds to get a picture with our cheer squad (the cheer squad consisted of her husband, John, her daughter, Theresa, Mitch, Randy and I) and all the while my shoes had become too small as my feet had swollen to the size of grapefruits. End result loosing both of my big toenails. Not good.
I don’t know how someone else would have reacted but I decided that if I were going to have swollen feet and loose toenails just to be a spectator than I should just jump right in and participate myself. At least I would have a Donald Duck medal at the end to show for my effort.
Now I am not insane by any stretch of the imagination realizing just how out of shape I had become over the last eight years and made the decision to start with the half marathon. My friend Lorraine was so excited and volunteered to do it with me. I was so excited. Of course, she is the heroine here, as she will then get up the next morning and participate in the full marathon.
I must confess that I was excited and worried at the same time. Should I have waited to tell my friend and give myself time to see if I could do it first? Could I be ready in time? Would the affects of the foot surgery, that I was still having trouble with, keep me from participating? All these questions, doubts and worries kept running around in my head like bees buzzing around a hive. But then I decided it was better to just say it out loud and make the commitment and see what happens.
My friend,Lorraine(who is always encouraging me to be a healthier me) immediately volunteered to help get me in shape but to be honest I was a little intimidated. This woman is an athlete. She has already successfully completed nine marathons. She offered to walk with me. There was no way in heaven I was going to let that happen. What if I couldn’t keep up?
So, I got up one day and said to myself this will be a test. I decided that I would walk from my house to the front gate of our development, which is approximately 4.7 miles. I did it at a pretty good clip and finished in one hour and twenty minutes. Pretty good right? Not so fast. After I showered and changed I sat down on the couch and that was it for the rest of the day. I was wiped out!! I could hardly keep my eyes open and my foot was on fire. Not good.
So for the month of May I just went about my business walking different distances either in the neighborhood or on the treadmill at the fitness center. Walking on the treadmill seemed the less painful of the two choices but I needed to get out there on the pavement. I found that I really don’t like the cement sidewalk but prefer to walk in the golf cart lane because it is asphalt and seems to be easier on my feet, knees and hips.
I finally told Lorraine about my concerns about walking with her that I wouldn’t be able to keep pace, etc. She said that she already felt that I had a decent pace and that she was more interested in checking out my stance, footfall, breathing and heart rate. As it turns out I bend over too much going up hills, my footfall is very heavy and flat, my breathing is atrocious and my heart rate was way too high. YIKES! I have a lot of ground to cover before January. Okay, first baby step accomplished announce intentions to the world. Next step start training in earnest and find a really good marathon nutrition plan.