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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Walking! Yes, Walking!

With just 4 days left in the year, everyone is trying to predict the hottest trend for the upcoming year. And I think I've found it.


Walking is everywhere right now. Justin Beiber recently walked on stage at his latest performance and was greeted with a cacophony of screaming tweens, teens, and weens (fans of Ween and Dean Ween himself). A toddler in Portland, Oregon just took her first steps after months of doing little more than lounging around; this promptly sent Fred Armisen scurrying to work on a new character. Need more proof? You are a tough customer.

Two running podcasts have recently profiled walking as an important tool for recovery, completing long-distance races and overall fitness. First, check out Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe episode entitled "Pedestrianism and Edward Payson Weston". Ol' Eddie Weston was one walking son-of-a-gun. Impressive times, even for walking.

Follow that episode with a wonderfully on-point rant from Ashland Dave in the his 12/8 episode 168 called "Run! Walk? Run! Walk?". For years I had passed up the Running in the Center of the Universe podcast simple because I didn't want to be reminded of that majestic beauty beholden of the Pacific Northwest and how my trails - or lack thereof - couldn't even compete with the worst stretch of trail in Oregon. Turns out Ashland Dave is from Virginia - hey, I've run there! - and his best marathon time is 4:17 - hey, he's not some elite with ridiculous times, that's how fast I run! Plus, this dude isn't afraid of taking a walking break and bragging about it. I think I've got a few old episodes I need to check out.

To cap off all the walk talk, I'll share with you my Christmas Day experience with walking. At the moment, I can't run without feeling pain (and regret, I want to get healthy before I'm running again). Using the different stationary bikes or rowing machine at the gym doesn't entirely prevent my knee from feeling tension. Even walking on the treadmill feels cumbersome. But I just can't accept that I may be better off with my feet up on a couch recovering. So, I decided to go for a walk.

I treated this somewhat short walk - mileage wise - like a backpacking adventure. I geared up: hydration pack, energy bar, gaiters and a buff to cover my face. The temperature was about 40, but the sun was working hard to stay out and keep me warm. I walked about a mile before I hit the only trails within 10 miles of my home. This old dirt bike trail leads all the way to some railroad tracks that follow behind a retirement community. It took a long, long time to get to the train tracks. All the while I was conscious of leg turnover and foot placement. This gave me good walking form and little to no pain in my right knee. If it was for getting back to and getting ready for the Christmas Party, I would have stayed out longer than an hour-and-a-half.

When it was all over with, my legs spoke to me and smiled as I cooled down. My knee was alright, too. It was only 4 miles, but it was an achievement for me that signaled hope for the future. Hope for 2013.

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