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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

100 Miles A Month

Near the end of May I was walking the San Gabriel Park/Lake Georgetown trail and had in idea.

"Huh. I should try to go 100 miles in a month. This trail is perfect for it. The dog and I both need the exercise. That's doable, right??"

I lamely tried to do the calculation in my head.

"How many miles a day would that be? Man, it's a good thing I went the long route today, it's going to take awhile to work this one out."

It came to 3.3 miles a day, IF I walked every day. Now, obviously there would be some days I'd have to miss, for weather reasons or travel. But my newly established 5 mile walk was a fair enough challenge that I could squeeze a few big walks in when I had to miss a day.

I decided to begin the 1st of June and I was anxious to see if I could indeed conquer the challenge. It was a good goal to have, as far as goals go. Walking/jogging the trail would be beneficial in so many ways. Obviously it would get my rear out of bed (well, Wilder already does that) and outside. Nature has always fed my soul and I do so love the gnarled trees covered in lush vines, the white tailed deer that prance through the forest, the colorful birds and the gaggles of geese. Plus....the river. My dad brought home a BBC radio play of "Wind in the Willows" when we were little and I spent so many evenings listening to Ratty yammer on about the wonderful river, singing his River Song about the "ducks go a-dabbling, two by two" -oh, the memories. Though this river is more of a "trickle" it still has a certain charm and is very serene to run alongside. Then, there's the physical benefits. I mean, it can't be a bad thing to get some cardio on a regular basis, now can it?

The first two weekends I had out of town travels -the Scottish Festival and the trip to Longview. I had no idea that my 3.3 miles a day would turn into a regular 5 miles just to make up the difference, but it did. I started jogging up to 3 miles of my route, though usually do 2 now since I'm hitting so much pavement in such a short stretch of time. Don't want to wear those knees out!

It's been a joy getting to know the regulars, for there are many. Funny couples, determined old ladies walking solo, country club women with their young daughters trailing behind, cyclists, and barely clad runners who should know better. There is a women who lives near my turn around point who walks a beautiful cocker spaniel that always brings a smile to my face seeing its bouncing ears. A precious older lady gets out at the crack of dawn, her shirt already soaked at the collar when I see her, carries a long switch and wears a happy but determined face. I spoke with her today, she was late hitting the trail. Her daughter is here visiting and they were talking. The daughter told her to hurry up and get out the door for her walk, she had know idea how her mother handled this wretched heat. Her mother said, "It's cause I'm tougher than you!" I had to chuckle.

One woman looks like a gracefully aging yoga instructor, perhaps in her early 60s. She quietly, but firmly strides the bike path looking serene and content. I hope I have that poise and grace -and level of fitness- when I reach her age, God willing.

There's the man who jogs in the plastic "sweat" jacket wrestlers and the like wear to drop weight before matches. I keep wanting to tell him it's only water weight and he'd be better off not roasting and having the energy to jog faster and farther.

The high school track team always beats me to the finish. I arrive as they are wrapping up and the last stragglers lop in. The boys are thin as rails, but seem to always have a "good morning." The girls canter by with weird looks when I greet them or mention what a fine day it is. They need to take my charm classes, if I ever get them up and running. Oh, running! Get it?? (Bad Joke Tuesday!)

After week two seeing the pattern of regulars I decided to be the friendliest person on the trail. I don't know if that was an arrogant goal, but I noticed not too many folks felt like being neighborly, so why not break the ice and perhaps start a new trail etiquette? I'd love for Central Texas to nominate Georgetown for "Friendliest Trails." About 50% of folks nod or say good morning -cyclists nod because all you'd hear is "Goo...Mo!" as they whiz by. They also say, "Passing on your left!" but that doesn't really count as a friendly greeting. With so many folks walking you have plenty of time to issue a, "Fine morning, isn't it?" or "Have a lovely day!" And so, I have been attempting to greet my regulars, as well as a few newbees. Yes, Mom, I don't talk to scary men, or I only nod out of politeness to gents who give me the creeps. My dad once gave me a serious scolding for being friendly to a man in an elevator when Dad and I were on a trip. Hey, I wasn't nominated "Friendliest Senior at Dimond High School" for nothing! But I'm safe. Friendly, but safe.

As the end of the month approached I tallied my miles and then...freaked out. Bumping up my days to 7 to 6 miles in order to make the goal -but there is NO DOUBT: I am conquering my 100 miles a month!

Friday on the trail I kept thinking how fabulous it would be to get a running stroller. I had been using the four wheeled stroller that our carseat connects to and it was quiet a challenge running, pushing the clunky stroller AND holding onto the dog as she pulled away so as not to get hit by the wheels (and also to yank suddenly to sniff something SUPER interesting.) I figured once I finished this month of running Brian and I could research strollers and maybe get something a tad more trail friendly. That afternoon my birthday present from Brian arrived. It was a running stroller! I have been using it on the trail since Sunday and am loving it! Just this morning I saw one of the regular who had just purchased a jogging stroller after pushing her umbrella stroller for the past week. She said it made a huge difference -I completely agree!

With my upcoming summer travels I won't be able to continue knocking out 100 miles per month, but I think I'm addicted to the trails. I've got a good system down, Wilder takes his morning nap and second feeding while we're out. Savannah (the dog) has several spots in the river she dips into for a cool down and drink. And I feel thoroughly worn out and much more at peace as the day begins.

So here's to many more adventures on the trails, miles on my stroller wheels, and -for my birthday- I'm getting more workout gear! Hooray!!

1 comment:

Roccy said...

Ok, you don't know me - I knew Brian when he was at ASU a long time ago. He gave me the link to your blog when little Wilder was making his way into this world.

Anyway . . . I just gotta say, you are my hero. You do it all! I love reading your blog! It ALWAYS lifts my spirits. Thank you!!

Keep up the good work and thank goodness for jogging strollers. They are the BEST!!


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