I have it scheduled so that every Saturday, I am going to do a longer walk. This doesn’t sound entirely revolutionary but it is something I keep in the back of my mind throughout the week. So that when I am feeling sore or tired on a Tuesday and another lunchtime lap around the industrial park seems like the actual worst thing ever in the world – I remember Saturday is coming and I end up out there in the awful industrial park plodding along.
This past Saturday, I walked my farthest to date in one go and I had my fastest mile so far. I walked 3.1 miles and I did so intentionally because that is about the length of a 5K. My mile breakdowns were: 17:39, 18:00, and 17:32. I accomplished my little feat in the Lehigh Parkway, under a blazing sun that may or may not actually be the ass of Satan.
When I started walking, with Satan’s ass bearing down on me, I almost stopped. It looked SO far. The bridle path winded around the corner in front of me just out of the line of sight. There was no way I was going to be able to walk this. I would have to stop or go back. Or lay in the creek and wait for death. I did not stop thinking about any of that until about 2 miles into the engagement. I walked to a point where, no matter the path, I would reach about 3 miles just reaching the sweet relief of my little car waiting for me.
The Parkway is divided into segments between bridges. There are parking lots (or gravely parking areas) at each bridge. It was .6 miles from the first bridge to Robin Hood (second bridge). .9 miles to the next bridge (Schreiber’s Bridge). I know this because I stopped and took a breath and a stretch at those locations. I barreled past Robin Hood on the way back to the bridge near my car and when I went to cross I checked Strava and I was at 2.6 miles. Shit.
So, staring at my phone, I walked briskly (note the fastest mile was my last) until I saw the app reach 2.8 miles. That way, I walked .2 to that point and when I got back to the bridge (another .2), I would be at 3 miles. That’s exactly what happened. And when it hit 3 miles, on the bridge, I stopped, raised my hands in the air under Satan’s ass and shouted a bunch of words that included at least one obscenity. Life pro tip: Don’t shout curse words in the park – especially when a runner is just crossing the bridge and all she says is a giant sweaty pink man yelling about Satan’s ass and a “(beep) Yeah! I (beeping) did it!”
I blasted “The Majestic Tale of a Madman in a Box” on the way home. I felt as if I had consumed an illegal substance. I was pumped. Then, I went to my kitchen to begin preparing an awesome Mexican dinner that I had devised and I cried. Out of nowhere and for seemingly no reason. It lasted maybe two minutes but it was spontaneous and I don’t understand so I texted Michelle and she commiserated enough that I knew I hadn’t had a stroke and didn’t need to go to the ER.
(Shot taken immediately after yelling all the bad words)
This 3.1 mile walk was a major milestone for me given that at the beginning of the month of March, I wouldn’t even consider walking to a bar a block away from my house. I will only celebrate this briefly though as such a walk needs to become the standard and not the outlier. There will be longer walks and they will pass more silently than this one.
For now, I have set myself a standard of accomplishment. I hope to walk, in one go, 3.1 miles every day. I will walk a little harder and a little faster each time. My fitness guru tells me I need to alternate between fast and vigorous walking on these endeavors and I am beginning to do that as well. She is merciless by the way, however nice and helpful and friendly she may appear. So yes, I raise a glass to this walk this morning but I won’t be doing that again. This milestone – I’ll remember it and the feeling of it but I have to walk past it and I have to keep making more. That’s all there really is now. Progress. That will be the enduring legacy – not the brief one in the Parkway on a Saturday set ablaze by both the sun and my nascent determination.