I have not walked intentionally for a long time. I got busy here at the farm and the sidewalk of Lowndesboro ends a couple of miles away from us. There was no way to walk at night safely. Today, I had had enough. I have missed everything that walking allowed me to do. So I simply got started. It is very different–I walk on the road, facing traffic. I have enough of a grassy shoulder to be able to step aside when I see a car headed my way. In three miles, I only had to do that 4 times. This is also the exact opposite of an urban landscape. Sheep, deer, squirrels and a large eagle have taken the place of the occasional crab, frogs, ducks and owls of my rambles in Fort Lauderdale. And especially, there are hills. A couple of them are steep enough to leave me winded but give me a great workout.
I also signed up and paid my fees to walk in the Mercedes Marathon on February 21st in B’ham. It was a little unnerving to then go out and realize my pace is considerably slower right now and probably my endurance is lower, though I didn’t even try to walk the 6 miles I was accustomed to in Ft Lauderdale. It means that I will need to train with more intention and attention to speed. I’ll have to push myself quite a bit. But this time, I will be training in terrain that is even more hilly than the terrain of the course in Birmingham. I’m aiming to make the walk with better times and we’ll see if that happens or not. It won’t be the end of the world if my time isn’t better. As I chugged up the steepest hill in my way today, I remembered how a part of the walking 2 years ago got just incredibly monotonous and boring.
Something else occurred to me: last time I participated, I went with my friend Marsha. Though she finished ahead of me (in fact, I lost sight of her in the first half hour) there was a sense of camaraderie and of a shared adventure. I think I’m doing this completely on my own this year, and anyway, even if you do it with a buddy, I think these experiences are finally about testing who you think you might be, so it is an experience of solitude, at least for me. Except that I also remember the people cheering participants on at lots of points along the route. I remember how touching I found that encouragement.
I have my training program mapped out between now and the 21st of February and it is going to be pretty rigorous. Fortunately, I am traveling very little between now and then so I will be able to keep to a regular schedule. I have some music to train with that helps me with my pace. I have the determination. Gonna do this thing…
Here’s what the view was like as I walked today.