I walked to work today.
Big deal, you say? Maybe so. But it didn't seem like such a big deal. It's 4.2 miles and took me 80 minutes. While walking I called a couple of friends to chat and told them what I was doing (to explain away the panting on the uphill parts). Both acted as if I was bonkers, and both offered to come get me if I needed help.
I didn't. I'm in decent walking shape – walk an hour a day most weekend days, and 30 minutes or so most weekdays – but this was, I admit, a bit daunting. I had to plan it out, choosing a day where I didn't need my car for work, with a good weather forecast, and then think seriously what to wear so I'd be comfortable yet not have to change clothes at work. I put my office shoes in my backpack.
I figure the walk only took about 30 minutes more than my usual morning routine. I typically walk 30 minutes anyway. The drive to work and walk from the parking lot take about 20. So it wasn't hugely time-consuming.
You see more when you walk, of course. I saw daffodils and crocuses and some fruit trees (cherry? plum?) blooming. I saw two places that were complete barriers to anyone wheelchair bound. They should be fixed.
One was the sidewalk in front of the shops at Morehead and McDowell. A utility pole narrows the sidewalk to about 18 inches. Anyone in a wheelchair coming from the south would be completely blocked and have to go in the street. The other was closer to the Y. Repair work at a corner (was it Myrtle?) blocked the sidewalk. I could walk around it, up a grassy hill where a path was being worn away into the grass. No one in a wheelchair could have done that.
I didn't get run over, though I had to make eye contact with motorists a lot and a couple of times realized that state law giving me the right of way in crosswalks was irrelevant, when drivers were complete unaware I existed because they never even looked. It felt like wearing Harry Potter's invisibility cloak.
I walked mostly along Morehead Street, Queens Road and Providence Road. It was rush hour so traffic was heavy. Almost every vehicle I saw carried only a driver and no passengers. Maybe 5 to 10 percent had a second person, typically a child. All this on a beautiful spring-like morning with a shining sun and temperatures climbing from the 40s into the 50s as I walked. I started to wonder why more people weren't walking. Yes, I admit it, the last 15 minutes were not so fun. I wasn't puffing but I was tired. My shirt got damp, especially under the backpack. But a few minutes at my desk revived me nicely.
And here's my reward. It's from a new book I've finished, called "Carjacked": "Just an hour of walking at a moderate pace burns 207 calories off the average woman and 244 calories off the average man."
No moral to this story, just sharing the experience, in hopes others might decide to give it a try someday, if they can.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
I walked to work today.