Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just Me And The Retirees

Once school got out and I was officially "retired" from volunteering I had time do things that I enjoyed again and that were good for me.  Like daily walks.  Carving out time for yourself is a difficult thing to do whether you work full time, volunteer full time, etc.  There's always something to be done around the house, children to shuttle to dance class, homework, social obligations, on and on.

We're fortunate to have a beautiful 2 mile walking trail about half a mile from our house.  Parts of it are wooded and as you can see there's a beautiful lake.  

What I call the neck of the lake.  On a hot summer's day it's the worst stretch of the walk!
I used to take the dogs with me and do just the two miles but soon learned that I'd get a better time if I went alone and did a combination of walking/running.  Once it was full on summer and the brutal humidity that accompanies the summer heat that is known in SW Georgia the running went by the wayside and was replace with a super brisk walk.  

The trail is inhabited by many different kinds of creatures:  dragonflies and butterflies around the neck of the lake, birds obviously, various species of ducks, geese, Canada geese, herons, etc.  There have been rumors of foxes but I've yet to see one.  Thankfully. 

It's a good day if I see this little lady and her family

There's also a small family of deer that live in the wooded area where the lake becomes a stream.

I was a mess on the 6th anniversary of my father's passing and after spending the morning crying and missing my dad I decided that a walk would do me some good.  On my second lap I saw 4 deer in a clearing near the lake.  I slowed down as the first two ran back into the woods.  The third bounded away but the fourth stayed and stared at me.  My dad was a deer hunter and would go for drives in the evening to look for them in fields so he would know where to hunt the following day.  In his later years when he wasn't able to hunt, he enjoyed just going out looking for them.  Seeing the deer that day brought me peace and I took it as a sign that my dad was with me.  I've seen the deer a few times since then and it always lifts my spirit to see them.

As summer progressed. . . .and my stamina, I found myself doing two laps (four miles).  Some days my time was better than others but the fact remained that I was out there moving, not sitting on the couch basking in the AC.

Four soon turned to five and I'm averaging 25-30 miles a week.

Over the summer we slept in most mornings so I'd walk anywhere from 11 am 'til 1 pm.  We don't hit our really high temps until mid to late afternoon so while it was hot and humid, it wasn't completely unbearable.

Now that school is back in session and we're car pooling with friends I'm able to get out between 8:30 am and 9 am.  The temperatures are better but lately the humidity has been horrific in the early mornings.  Last week I was walking around 9 am.  The temperature was 78 and the humidity was 94%.  Needless to say, I was a puddle!

Walking earlier also means that I see the same group of people most mornings.  There are two older ladies who walk their dogs.  The little Yorkie?  Not friendly.  Not mean but just indifferent.  She did warm up to me on Friday a bit.  The pit mix?  Always up for kisses and ear scratches.  There's an older man who walks his grey faced lab who has obviously been a family member for years.  She can't make it up into the car herself so he has a little step stool for her.  There's a couple that is very friendly but the wife needs to lay off the Elizabeth Arden Red Door for walks.  Occasionally I'll see some parents from Sunshine's elementary school, but mostly it's me, a couple women who are a little younger than me, and the retirees.

Sunshine is back in full swing with ballet as well school.  This year she's dancing 4 days a week (3 technique classes and a Pilates/stretch class).  One of the classes is on Saturday morning which has been hard as it's at 9 am.  We enjoy sleeping in on weekends in our house so taking one away has been an adjustment.  It seemed to make sense when I was enrolling her as Nutcracker rehearsals will start in a couple weeks so I figured she'd be there already, she'd be warmed up from class and could just roll into rehearsal rather than go in cold.

The first Saturday class I sat with some of the other parents and read and chit chatted.  Yesterday I got the bright idea to walk the historic district.   There are beautiful ante-bellum homes along lower Broadway as well as on 1st avenue.  After dodging shoppers from the Farmer's Market for a block I found myself on a beautiful tree lined street with bricked roads and majestic homes.  My five mile path worked out well as I had my shortest mile splits that I've had in a while.  Maybe walking on pavement was less treacherous than tree roots/rocks and stopping to pet people's dogs while walking my usual path?

A friend's husband asked when I'm doing my first race and I laughed "Never".  I'm just enjoying doing something for myself that is healthy for my body and my mind.  I've run races before.  It's fun and exciting but at this point, the only person I'm competing with is myself.

Last week I did a 6 mile walk on one day.  It wasn't bad but I was nursing a sore foot so my time was off and I'd originally mapped my course for 5 miles (doubled up around the bridges over the stream, doubled up the drive off the street to the turn around, etc).  Maybe my September goal will be 6 miles/walk.