Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have never been the kind of person to set goals. Well, at least not the kind to write them down. I’ve always kept my goals in my head. That way if I don’t accomplish them, there’s no glaring reminder of the failure.

When I began this diet and then later began to exercise by walking, I didn’t set any long-term goals or even short term goals. The walk was just a walk. I did plan to increase it, but there were no real preset increments of extension. My first walk was just around the block. That was between .25 and .3 mile and it took me twenty minutes to complete. Yes, I was that out of shape.

Of course, at that time I had an incredible defense. I have arthritis in my back and my weight makes my knees hurt. More importantly, the muscles in my lower back completely fatigued many years ago and I had to go through physical therapy to be able to walk at all without pain. Walking would bring on the tightness quickly. The tightness would bring on the pain. The pain would bring out the wimp.

I began using a cane to help take some of the stress off of my lower back. Even then, five minutes would bring on the tightness, the pain, and the wimp. The term ‘within walking distance’ had a whole different meaning for me. I would go to the store only if I had a cart to lean on. Most of the time, I would be a ‘sit in the truck and wait’ kind of shopper.

That first walk was two weeks ago. The first change was in the amount of time it took to walk around the block. As the time got shorter quickly, I set my sights on going farther. My block included a large hill up and down. The up part stressed my back and the down part increased the pressure on my knees. This was not being a wimp, it was being conscious of the stress I was putting my body under.

I mapped out a slightly longer route on a more even terrain. I would walk down the street I lived on toward town and then turn a walk back. Not every day, but nearly, I would increase it by a landmark or block. It was four tenths. Then it was five tenths; then six, and seven tenths. The seven tenth walk was just last night. It brought my daily walk total to 1.8 miles.

This morning I got up with my back hurting and my ankle feeling a little tender. I figured I wouldn’t walk or if I did it would not be for a long distance. I put my walking clothes on. I had my phone for any emergency that might arise. I had my MP3 player and headphones (I listen to the Bible when I walk.) I was ready. Out the door I went.

I walked a little gingerly on the ankle at first. However, as the walk progressed, the pain subsided, not completely, but enough. I walked past my first previous turning point. I kept going. I walked past my second previous turning point. Still going. I passed the third and fourth points. Then I was at the place where I turned around last night. I still had walking left in me, so I went on. I finally stopped at the library and turned around. It was cool (under 70°) but the sun was right in my face on the return trip.

When I got home, I went to spark and plotted my course. I was somewhat shocked when the total distance read, 1.12 mile.

It was not a goal I had set on paper. It was a goal that was in my head, eventually, somewhere down the road.

In two weeks I had gone from a weak complaining 20 minute three-tenth of a mile walk to a 26 minute, no complaint, 1.1 mile walk.


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