Sunday, July 4, 2010

How about a Freedom Power Walk?

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Have a thoughtful and wonderful Independence Day. And of course, happy birthday to Dolley Elm!

We’ve already had the first barbecue of the weekend and the dishes are yet to be clean. Once the kitchen is all tidied up, we’ll be preparing for tonight’s grill-fest before we calm down to watch fireworks with the rest of Greensboro.

Every time someone makes a comment about “the long weekend” I take a moment to appreciate those who are working this weekend, those who don’t have Monday off, and those who may even be cooped during the fireworks. I know that this weekend I’ll be trying to run errands, so I’m glad businesses will be open whenever they are. Even through the fog of this weekend’s sentiment of relaxation and contemplation of what independence means, the other things still make their way in—the dirty dishes, the errands here and there, and figuring out what to take to the next weekend get-together.

So, I’ll take a walk.

I’ll take some time for myself, some time to appreciate some open space. I’ll go in my old, old sneakers and think about the fact that I don’t even know where to start in looking for a new pair.

These were a fresh pair in, well, 2006.

When you think of Independence Day, do you sometimes think of “independence” more figuratively? Sometimes I use the New Year to set—here comes that 11-letter 4-letter word—resolutions. Sometimes I choose another “meaningful” day to reset those resolutions: Sundays (the first day of the week), Mondays (the first day of the work week), the first day of the month, the first day of Spring, Summer, and on and on. I always look for these good, clean breaks in time during the year to say, “Today, I’ll start.” Figuratively, I’ve found independence for mind and body, for my “resolution” to exercise, and I didn’t find this independence on the first of the month.

Rather, it was June 26th. On Saturday, June 26th, I participated in the Freedom Run downtown. Ok, ok, did the 2-Mile Red, White & Blue Fun Run & Walk. I quickly decided to participate since I had recently began registering for these active community events. I’m also pretty sentimental about American traditions like the 4th of July. I am no runner, and after my, oh, third “run,” I found that I’m no jogger, either. During my previous runs, I usually ended up seeing someone I know, someone else that didn’t run, and we’d socialize through the course. I also realized that no matter how much you are both only walking or jogging, everyone has a different pace, so it can sometimes get frustrating. All in all, we’d get a good morning walk and talk in and the runs were for a cause we were glad to support. But on June 26th, it was just me out there.

So I went at my own pace and that was pretty nice. Even out there “on my own” it was encouraging to be able to walk in all the space blocked off downtown and to walk with a large group of people. I often worried about being left behind as strollers began to pass me by, but often enough I straightened up my back, focused on the cityscape ahead and picked up speed. By the time I got back to the finish line, post-race festivities began but I didn’t worry too much. I did it!

Every day after the Fun Run & Walk, I found myself walking—power-walking, even! I realized that at my own pace (that is speedier nowadays) I feel the burn better and am much more relaxed. This has been a great addition to my current workouts. I have a sense of independence from place and time: I can pretty much walk wherever and whenever I want to! Now, I look forward to picking up the pace at future community runs and I definitely look forward to next year’s Fun Fourth run.

Hopefully by then, I’ll have a new pair of sneakers.

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