No, I’m Not Walking To New York

For the last year I’ve been walking to work most days. My company relocated me to the same building where I started out 20 years ago. 20 years ago I got sick of waiting for a bus that was always either early or late. So, in a fit of pique, I walked to work one day (I was/am/will always be very early to work.) It took me about an hour and I smelled like a goat when I got there. But the next week I did it again, and then I started doing it almost every day. (Thankfully for my coworkers, there is a health club nearby where I can shower and change before walking the final 3 blocks to work.) At the end of that summer, 20 years ago, I’d lost about 40 pounds and was able to complete a 1/2 marathon. Felt great.

I kept it up for the next three years, and when the great economic spasm that marked 9-11 and the end of the bubble arrived, I had to take on a job that wasn’t so busable/walkable. And, to the best of my knowledge, that company had no locker room to which I was admitted. For the next 15 years I grew sedentary and lazy. I had one spurt of trying not to die fat during that time, but a horrendous illness laid me low and I kind of gave up on doing it ever again.

Until last year. Something had to change. Me. As a result, I am in really good shape for a huge fat guy. I am no longer the dashing stud-muffin I was 30 years ago, but for an almost-old-man, I’m doing pretty well. This morning I walked to work wearing a 60 pound pack. Three miles with that pig on my back wasn’t easy, but I was never winded and I felt good when I got to work.

Thursday I’ll be taking a little 11 mile stroll to work. I plan on stopping at the eye-doctor first. If all goes as planned, it will be a 1/2 day of vacation well spent. If I’m under the time I plan, I will walk two more miles and call it a 1/2 marathon. Yeah, I’m nuts, but I’m stronger than I have been in years.

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What’s the moral of this story? You can do it as well. I have to admit that I was very comfortable eating a bag of licorice for lunch, after a nutritious breakfast of a dozen donuts, and a warmup to some ice cream or burgers for dinner. My blood pressure, A1C, and joints were in disagreement. It’s not easy. It sucks on -10 degree mornings shrugging on 5 layers of workout clothes and ice grips before heading down the road. (Note: your Right Guard is frozen in the pack when you get to the gym, and only thaws out after the shower.)

The title today? Prompted by the conversation with two very fit people in their sixties who stopped their run to ask if I was walking to New York or something. I guess the 100 liter Alpine pack and six foot walking staff might give that impression. (I apologize if they read this and are younger than I am – in that case, you guys need some moisturizer for your skin!) I was a bit jealous, as they sped off at a rapid pace and I kept lumber along.

But that’s what I do, and I do it well: I lumber along.

Here’s to lumbering to the finish line.

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