Special (5)K Challenge

I am a walker, and have been from the time I started Junior High and was forced to trek home daily the mile and a half from school.  That’s quite a hike for a 13 year old kid who’d never walked much before.  I would complain to my parents, who both worked – necessitating the walk – but to no avail.  Sometimes I would sneak on a friend’s bus, pretending I was going to her house after school, then walk the 5 minutes home.  I never could figure out why she got to take the bus, when she lived just the other side of the main arterial.  But anyway…

Fast forward several years.  My husband – then boyfriend – took me to a nature refuge near our (then) homes, and the experience changed my life.  I discovered not only a passion for the natural world, but a love of walking that I’d never known before.  I began walking everywhere, whenever time afforded.  I couldn’t get up early enough to walk the 4 miles to work, but I walked home nearly every night.  Even during pregnancy – there I was, humpty dumpty in a business suit, stocking’ed feet stuck into two tennis shoes, heels in a bag at my side.  I thought when I walked, about life and love, and everything else.  Those walks set me right on the path to labor, and I often described the birth process just like a walk home, with a finite start, middle and end.  Walking kept me in shape, despite having gained FIFTY POUNDS that first pregnancy, and after my daughter was born, I walked all the more.  No longer tied to a work schedule, I would walk into town to meet my husband for lunch, our daughter strapped to my chest.  And when she got too big to carry, I’d push her in her stroller.  Everywhere.

As my daughter grew, and then became a sister, we continued walking as a family.  It was customary for us to return to that same nature refuge for an hour-long walk, with the dog – of course.  Our children (dog included) grew up there at the refuge, and thought nothing of a 4-mile walk several times a week, daily when the weather would permit.  From there the love of walking grew, to the point that, in the summer of 2008, when gas prices soared to untenable heights for our 1-income family, I banished driving during the week altogether.  Living in Philadelphia, a walkers paradise, it was easy.  We got groceries at the nearest supermarket, roughly 15 minutes away, and pushed everything home in our portable shopping cart.  When we needed to go into town, we’d walk.  There and back, about 8 miles.  Or, if we wanted to go the zoo, or the park, or the….  People were always amazed that my children would walk willingly, without complaint, without fatigue, but they’d never known anything different.

Since moving to Maine, we’ve kept up our walking.  Back when we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment, before buying our house, my husband had to commute using our car.  So I got to know Portland by foot.  It was wonderful, and I believe, the best way of getting to know a new city.  There’s something incredibly intimate about walking streets that gets lost inside a car, or even when bicycling.  You take in every inch, literally, on your heels, and the dust and the scents and the presence of every mile you walk stays with you.

After moving from the apartment to our new (olde) house, our walking has gotten even better.  Because now, for the first time in our lives, we have the ability to walk in nature without having to drive anywhere.  As many times a week as we are able – often daily, we leave the house to walk down the street to the head of the Fore River Sanctuary, one of 30 trails maintained by Portland Trails.  We walk back though the woods, over the marsh, and alongside and over the Fore River, and then loop back up to our house.  It’s beautiful.  We’ve seen deer, hawks, heron, even an owl – and never had to set foot in a car.

So why all this talk about walking?!  Because I just found out about this:  Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5K.  The folks who created and support WordPress (this blog platform) are WILD about fitness and have proposed a worldwide 5K on April 10th.  They’re encouraging anyone interested to participate – and then blog all about it.  Blogging and programming can be pretty sedentary activities, after all, so what better way to get active and stay fit than by this suggestion?  I for one think it’s a wonderful idea and am ON BOARD.  So for now, think of this post as my warm up.  And for everyone reading — HOW ABOUT YOU, TOO?

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26 thoughts on “Special (5)K Challenge

  1. I feel so lazy now!
    Although I do walk quite a bit. Or did, anyway. Mostly because I am a TERRIBLE driver and I’m much more comfortable walking (even if it takes me 4 times as long and it’s freezing outside). 🙂

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    1. Inky, you & Anna should do the 5K (3.something miles) and then blog about it. Or maybe post a photo in honor of the occasion, or something!

      I’m w/ you about walking, if I have the time available, even if it’s less than stellar weather, I’d rather walk someplace than drive.

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  2. I have the same love of biking that you have for walking. Walking, for me, just seems ridiculously inefficient and I just want to get it done as quickly as possible. But biking? Biking to me feels like flying.

    It sounds like walking gives you time to ponder, wonder, and get in a meditative mindset. I definitely agree about it being a more intimate method of travel.

    It’s just, I guess, since growing up in Miami I don’t feel comfortable going on a walk in an urban environment. I am constantly scanning my surroundings and anticipating places that people could ambush me from. When walking, I am on Defcon 2.

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    1. Hayden, you are so spot-on it’s not funny. Walking for me is completely meditative. I love walking through the woods alone w/ Roxy and completely zoning out. I can think about anything, or pray, or plan – whatever I need to do. When we walk together, me & the girl/s or as a family whole, it’s a totally different experience. We use the time to talk together. The girls, especially, LOVE walking & talking. They have the gift of gab (no idea where they get that… LOL)

      I feel the same way on roller skates as you do on a bike. I love biking too, but when I am skating, I feel like I’m flying.

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  3. I love walking too, and think it’s greatly under appreciated in terms of its health benefits. I used to walk a lot, though the last few years I haven’t been able to walk nearly as much. I hope to start doing a lot more walking this year.

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    1. There are so many benefits to walking! Such wonderful exercise, no gym membership required. And if you incorporate it into your daily routine, you can plan on accomplishing other tasks simultaneously too – running errands, walking the dog, etc.

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  4. You always go for those WordPress challenges! I never even know about them, until I read your posts. I’d say that I’d do it, but I know I won’t. Got too many other things going on right now.

    I love that you are a walker. I am a walker. When I was in grade school, my BFF & I would walk 4 miles roundtrip to visit her grandmother. (It was the 70s.) I’d walk everywhere, as I didn’t own a bike until college, but even there, I was walking 60 miles a week once I moved away from campus. Walking is the easiest exercise in the world and it’s fun! More people need to do it. I’ve been car-free for 14 months, and don’t miss it, unless it comes time to grocery shop or go to appointments, etc.

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  5. My wife used to walk for mile upon mile when our kids were going to school. She didn’t lose a pound, and she suffered just about every malady in her feet that feet can get – eventually actually breaking bones in them through sheer repetive pounding of the sidewalk. In the end she cast aside fears of humiliation, and used our daughter’s micro-scooter to ride back and forth. So I guess walking doesn’t suit everyone. But a walk in the woods is always a pleasure – where there’s no micro-scooters to make you leap for the safety of the underbrush.

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    1. I know walking’s not for everyone, but your poor wife! You make it sound like she’s wearing leaded boots, not cushy sneakers. Perhaps you could both walk in the woods, far away from the hum of the scooters and the pain of concrete!

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  6. I am heading out for a walk today as we speak! I share your enthusiasm for spending time outdoors, something carried on from my mother who would have us walk with her and pick up litter. For some reason that was fun, to see what we would find beyond alcohol/pop cans. And now, I cannot walk past litter without picking it up and putting it in its proper location: the garbage!

    Have fun with the WP 5K!

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  7. This post is sooooooo funny to me as someone who’s forced to walk so much because of all the places the subway doesn’t go. The part about getting to know your new city on foot, especially, because the opposite’s true for me: I’m amazed at how different the city looks from a car. I know it so well on foot that when I see it from a cab, it looks so strange.

    Anyway, I love that you and your family are walking! It kind of makes me want to walk the four miles from work to Kamran’s tonight.

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  8. I’m gunna do it. I started a regular weekend walk thing but sprained my ankle 2 weeks ago & it’s still in recovery mode. But will be back walking the fat off again soon.

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  9. I’m with you; walking is key to a long and happy life. Nature is fine, but nothing beats walking in a city, especially a smaller, not-so-crazy one. I imagine that Portland is a great walking city. Happy Walking Weekend to everyone.

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    1. Portland *is* a wonderful walking city! I must confess part of the reason we bought our house was because of its location and the fact that there’s a sidewalk out front. I was adamant when we were house-hunting; my husband wanted another house originally and I stood staunchly opposed b/c it was on a un-walkable road. In a worse case scenario, I need to be able to access stores, etc. by foot. And with all the snow — it also helps alleviate boredom or what I liken “The Shining Factor” — LOL

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