I envy people who run because I just can't do it. Even though I ran sprints for track my Freshmen year of high school, I am not a runner or jogger - never have been and never will be. But walking I have always been able to do. I used to be able to walk for miles and not think a thing of it, it was an activity I really enjoyed.
Back when I was still at Norwich PD (which sometimes seems like a lifetime ago) I used to go to the track at Norwich Free Academy after I got out of work at 11:00 p.m. and walk until close to 1:00 in the morning. I'm not sure if they still do it now but back then they used to leave the lights on at the track all night long. Sometimes when I would first get to the track a few people might be there but they usually were gone long before I got into my third mile and then I'd have the place all to myself. Despite the late hours that I was out there, it never dawned on me to be scared. I always felt relatively safe as there wasn't really a good way for anyone to sneak up on me as it's very open in all directions. Well, either that or I was just being plain dumb!
I loved those late night walks by myself and would sometimes find myself walking four or five miles at a stretch without getting tired. I think a lot of it was that it was a great way to relieve the stress from my job. By the time I was done circling that track, there wasn't much of anything bothering me at all - I would walk away every negative phone call that I had taken that evening at work, I would walk away every frustration I had at home, and I would walk away all of the other cares that I carried around with me. It was very liberating to be out on that track.
Every great once in awhile I would try jogging for a short distance as people have always said how good jogging is for a person but I just never got that whole concept. I'd jog for a half lap around the track and then spend the next lap trying to catch my breath while trying to work out the stitch in my side! Once I actually managed to jog an entire quarter mile and I couldn't have been more proud of myself had I won a Pulitzer Prize! But it was just that once and that's why that particular memory still stands out so clearly when so many others have faded - when you have only accomplished something once you tend to remember it! For the most part I walked a 15-minute mile, a respectable clip which put me somewhere squarely between the tortoise and the hare!
I forget when it was that I stopped walking at the track but I'm sure it was too long ago. Even though I have resolved many times over to get back out there and begin again, I've just never been able to do it for one reason or another - or more likely because of one excuse or another! I've had the best of intentions but we all know about best intentions, don't we?
Last week I finally decided that enough was enough and I needed to start getting some sort of exercise if I was ever going to have any energy again and I started working out on my Gazelle. I had bought it a few years ago as I couldn't afford and didn't have room for a treadmill but it sat unopened in its box for almost a year as the time that it arrived was the same time that my back went out on me. Since then it has mostly collected dust in the dining room as despite the fact I put it together and used it once or twice, I have been a bit afraid to do anything that's going to throw my back out of whack again. I finally convinced myself of the ridiculousness of that logic - after all, it's no-impact and located close to the phone so if something did happen I wouldn't have far to crawl to call 911!
Now that I've been using it for a little over a week, I've found that I actually look forward to and enjoy my time on the thing. I toss on my MP3 player that's loaded with my favorite yet odd collection of music and the world goes away just as it did when I used to walk around the track at NFA. No stress, no worries, no cares - and that's not a bad thing! Now I just need someone to guilt me into making sure I continue the habit ... uh, Jen, can I count on you for that??