Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Post: Walk This Way

Sophia took over for another blog post because she's awesome. We recently went to the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina where she completed a 2 mile walk. She's been an awesome workout partner and has inspired me to try for next year. 

The annual Smoky Hill River Fest has a component called the Festival Fitness Five. This is composed of
a five-mile and two-mile race, a two-mile “just for fun” walk and children’s races. This year I completed
the two-mile walk.

The walk started at 8:15am, just as the sun decided to make its presence known. I stepped into the
cluster of people a few minutes before the start of the walk. I couldn’t push my way into the back of the
crowd so I stood just a few bodies from the front of the pack hoping I wouldn’t fall behind too quickly.

I realize that the walk was non-competitive but that did nothing to quell the voice in my head telling
me to make sure that I finished in a reasonable amount of time. I had signed up earlier that week on
a bit of a whim, and had no idea what my pace would be or what a reasonable expectation was. The
starter went off and I headed out trying to pace myself at a rate I thought I could maintain. It wasn’t
long before I realized that the walk catered to all types of folks. There were the lean and sinewy old
men who had no body fat to slow them down. There were couples and families with strollers. There
was a group of particularly loud women who felt this was their opportunity to discuss personal stories at
a high volume.

We moved out of the park and into the streets of Salina fairly quickly. A few of the older men passed
me quickly followed by a stroller. And the person pushing the stroller. By the end of the first mile I
realized that I might have done better to sign up for the two-mile run. When I use the treadmill I have
my own mix of walking/running/jogging that I do. I used to think I started the running when I got bored
with the walking. Turns out that I start running when my shins start aching. And believe me, they were
aching. I have a feeling I would have hurt less if I’d run the whole way, plus the time would have gone
by faster. Sometimes I have trouble relaxing in the midst of activities. I tend to focus on the goal and
when the goal is relaxation I do great doing nothing. However, I’d registered to cover two miles of
distance on a Saturday morning and I had to fight the voice inside telling me that breaking into a jog
would accomplish that more quickly. But I had signed on to walk and so I stuck it out.

It was a good thing; it forced my brain to accept that I was not going to get to the finish line any more
quickly. Once that realization sunk in it became about observing the town around me as we passed
through and making conversation with the walker beside me. I will admit that when we were passed
by a stroller feet from the finish line I felt just a bit disheartened, but that spurred me on so there was
no slacking at the end. They read my time as I hit the finish and it was just over 28 minutes. A pace
of 4mph for someone with short legs is not too shabby. I am definitely glad for the experience. It has
encouraged me to focus my training and attempt a legitimate, competitive run in the next year.

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