You may remember a couple of posts from this time last year about a walking team I joined at work. An initiative called Walk Across Hot Spring County encourages teams of employees to form at area institutions who then log their miles and compete with other teams over a period of 8-10 weeks. It was very motivational for me last year, and I walked almost every day with my team. Recall that one year ago I was 345 pounds, just getting started with exercise, and had no interest in joining a gym.
Walking daily was excellent exercise that pushed my body to grow and change. I was covering a little over 2 miles in an hour, and you could tell from looking at me that it was exhausting work. Now, I can walk 2 miles in an hour and not break a sweat.
In the first days of walking with this group, I remember being able to complete at most 2 of our 3/8 mile laps before my ankles would begin hurting and necessitate returning to my office chair. My walking buddies graciously slowed down and took care of me. I was the weak link, and they supported me.
I now cover at least 2.5 miles, and some days 5 or more miles on the elliptical trainer when I go to the gym. This isn’t simply walking — it’s like climbing a sandy hillside at 132 beats per minute. When I walk on flat pavement with my walking buddies, I tend to outrun them, and I feel guilty. They were there for me when I was weaker than they were, and I feel it’s my obligation to be there for them now that I’m stronger.
While the social interaction is wonderful, the team cohesion is great, and the time in the fresh air is welcome, it’s not doing much for me in a physiological sense. I hate to confess that I’ve been letting my team down by not being a part of the group that walks daily at work. I try to make it up by putting in my laps in a fashion that pushes me harder and is a better match for my level of fitness.