Learning to Walk

walkingOver the past 5 years, I have slowly become what I would call a recreational runner. That is, I enjoy the occasional after-work run through the neighborhood, participating in 5K or 10K fundraising races and have joined several training groups one of which led me to my first-ever half-marathon last fall. While I have no ambitions of running the Boston Marathon, I can certainly appreciate the passion people have for running and have experienced that well known runner’s high that keeps you lacing up the shoes time and time again.

Well, the last race I participated in was the Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning. I was actually pregnant at the time, but didn’t yet know it. Then with the holidays, the discovery of our news and the roller coaster of emotions and tiredness that set in, I did next to nothing those months following the race. By the time my energy came back, I was too far out of running shape to jump right back in so I joined a gym to help get me through the long winter. I’ve enjoyed doing some light weight training, swimming and group exercise classes, but I haven’t gotten back into running and at this point, it will probably be post-baby before I’ll train for another run. My care provider has encouraged me from the beginning to take up walking and as strenuous exercise gets to be more challenging, I can definitely see the benefits. Plus some studies have shown that regular walking can lead to shorter and/or easier labors. Who wouldn’t want that?

At first I’ll admit that the pace of walking seemed so slow compared to the running I was used to, but setting weekly goals for myself has helped and over the last couple of months I have come to appreciate the exercise and mental clarity that walking provides. I alternate my walks between the gym and the neighborhood, both have their perks, but especially love getting out and meeting neighbors, seeing different blocks and enjoying the community that we live in. I’ll probably go back to my running after the baby is here (mostly as an opportunity to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans), but I wouldn’t mind continuing my neighborhood walks as well as a way to introduce the neighborhood to Denning Beta.

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