Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6 is National #Walking Day! My Walking Story


My awesome new shoes from Elite Feet in Leawood, KS that practically cured my plantar faciitis, which I was worried would keep me from walking anymore. Mention my name and I get a $10 credit!
Back in the 1990s, before I became a mom, I really enjoyed walking to lose weight, to feel good listening to music and talk radio and to just get away from work on my lunch break. I just always felt better after a walk. It all started when my mom took me on a few walk and talks. My dad walked for a living as a mail carrier. Then I met a man coming out of my abusive marriage and his name was Steve Walker. No joke. His mother would walk the number of miles equal to how old she was going to be each year. So if she was going to turn 75 on Sunday, she would walk 75 miles from the previous Monday through Sunday. That’s over 10 miles a day! 

The day came when she talked us into doing a 5K with her in the cold. A 5K is only 3.1 miles … totally doable for many people. Keep in mind I was 23 years old, so walking 3.1 miles on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza should have been no problem. Let’s just say I was a bit sore because I wasn’t used to walking so much. Even though she has passed on and Steve and I only lasted a couple of years, what she did never left my mind.

I met my husband Aron in 1995, we married three years later and had our first child in 2001. In the years before I became a mom, I walked a few 5Ks for various causes (one with my friend Shelley for breast cancer) and walked on my lunch break from work quite often. Sometimes I would walk around the park behind our apartment.

October 2000 found my husband and I walking a half marathon (13.1 miles) in Downtown Kansas City after zero training and coming straight back from a two-week New England vacation. Little did we know our son Joel was walking with us in my womb! I was proud that I had gone from walking 3.1 miles at age 23 to 13.1 miles at age 29. Yes, I was sore by the end but it was so worth it! 

So why didn’t I keep it up? Why didn’t I prioritize my health, as well as something I loved doing? It was like a hobby that kept me healthy in body and mind. And I just stopped doing it.

Well, I fell in love with mothering like falling off a cliff … I was all in and there was no way back for me. I was a breastfeeding, cosleeping, diaper-changing, puke-cleaning, cloth diaper-washing, baby-holding machine. My son Joel was very fond of being held and I was fond of holding him, so putting him in a stroller often made him cry. I did not want him crying so I just skipped strollers altogether most of the time.

I should have left the house alone for a 20-minute walk sometimes but I was a new mom and didn’t trust just anyone to care for my baby. Besides, when I was out of his smelling range, he would cry. Again with the not wanting him to cry. It was just easier to stay home and with him, I reasoned.

When I was pregnant with our second child, Michael, I got the chance to go to California with Joel and my husband for his work. I walked around an office park pretty much every day just to have something to do and Joel did just fine in the stroller as a toddler with some Cheerios and a sippy cup. 

We added four more kids to our family and rarely would I go on a formal walk. Walking around the zoo or a nature park or to the park, sure. But it was not often that I would put on my headphones and tell my husband I was heading out for 20 minutes, because my kids were all attached to me and I didn’t want to leave them anyway.

I walked a 5K with my son called Battle of the Bean a couple of years ago and it was amazing! They are for a good cause but they can get costly. These days I’ll pick a kid who wants to come walk with me and we just go for 20-30 minutes. We chat, we learn the days of the week, we gripe, we just hang out. It rocks.

Mostly I head out alone for 30 minutes to return a RedBox or a library book or hit the grocery store. When summer hits I'll walk as early as I can in the morning then maybe again at night with my husband or with a kidlet. When it's warm I wear my OOFOS sandals because they are like butter on my feet. Check out my review here!

I hope you have a happy walking day ... I'd love to hear your walking story!
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