I’ve been walking for exercise regularly for almost two years now. I began doing it in the afternoons after work and then switched to the mornings when the curfew was put in place, and found that I preferred the earlier time because of the “fresh” perspective that time of day gives you and because I’m up by 5:00 anyway. I tell anyone who will listen that I walk (and run intermittently), not to lose weight but to keep it from creeping up on me. Sure, I may lose the odd pound or two here and there – well mostly here, because I have a problem area over there that won’t go anywhere. While I don’t mind having some curves, this one has taken up residence in entirely the wrong place. But I digress.
So the regular walkers who I wrote about here are still at it, as well as a few more including the cyclists, most of whom look down their noses at those of us whose feet actually touch the ground. Most train seriously, and groups of them can be seen riding single file decked out in their riding shorts and body-hugging shirts, sometimes with a trainer giving instructions or encouragement at the top of his lungs. But would it kill a man to say a “good morning” to a fellow road-user?…. Anyway, I’ve been varying the places I traverse a bit more – partly because I’ve been making better time getting to particular points and partly because I need to have a change of scenery. As with most things that are practiced there will be some improvement, and in my case it’s an increase in stamina. I’m only ever in competition with myself, as I casually set goals with regards to difficulty (in terms of terrain) and distance. However, I suppose a little rivalry doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t hurt to know that you actually have a rival – or two.
Last week, as I was heading down the hill leading to the main road, I spied a man already in full pelt. A dog followed closely behind. I could have turned any one of three ways to begin my walk, but since I had already decided on my route the night before I ended up going in the same direction as the man and his dog. I was several feet away from him, but as soon as he realized there was someone behind him, he just kept looking back. The dog stopped to do what dogs do – take a sniff here, a pee there and provoke the other dogs that couldn’t get out of their yards. As I started to gain on the brother, he looked behind and said, “You walk fast, man”, to which I gave a non-commital reply. After a while, I wasn’t really able to keep a six foot distance so I realized that I would have to pass him. When he realized what was afoot (tee hee), he quickened his pace. I had already committed to passing and his pace wasn’t quite quick enough for me so, as my mother used to say when she wanted us to walk faster, I had to “stretch” my legs.
Usually, doing this results in painful calves when it’s all over but like I said, I was in full passing mode – however he wasn’t having it. The man then started to pump his arms in his attempt to pull away. I was considering doing it myself, but he crossed the road before me and then broke into a jog which he continued all the way to the corner and up a hill – something I never do by the way. His dog trotted along obediently. I said to his retreating back, “Well you go on then”. By the time I met him further along the road, he had abandoned the jog but was walking briskly. I still had some breath left, since I didn’t run up any hill, and I proceeded to run. He actually says, that he can’t let me pass him, especially since I was a woman. Eh eh. I smiled as I did just that. And as I was doing so, he asked me whether I was from the area that we were heading to. I don’t know what turned on that (as a now-gone radio personality used to say), but I told him that I wasn’t and pointed vaguely in the direction that I had come from – and then turned around and headed back into the dust that had been left in my wake.
About two weeks prior I was walking along one of my newer causeways, so I wasn’t familiar with the regulars on this route. I break into a jog and pass a man who is walking at a speed just one gear up from leisurely. He looked like he was cold and expecting rain at any minute because he carried an umbrella and was so covered up (including a face mask), that I couldn’t even tell his true complexion. I figured him for one of those people who thinks he needs to bundle up in extra clothing to lose weight. I hailed him as I passed and he returned my greeting. I got to the corner and turned around. He hadn’t yet reached it, so I was now walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. I see him look my way and he says loudly, “Next time you won’t be able to pass me”! I laugh just as loudly and probably said something encouraging like “Alrighty then”, when what I really wanted to say was “Fat chance!” as I made a note to call a friend who frequents the gym to ask about the availability of her trainer.
Last week I met him again, and I again completed the same manoevour. As we crossed paths on opposite sides of the road he sang out clearly, “A few weeks more”.
I guess it’s on now!