So I went out walking/running this morning as I usually do and I was thinking about Stephen King and his great novel, The Stand. If you Google a list of Stephen’s novels and try to determine which one is at the top this one comes up on a regular basis. And I have been reading it on the Kindle. Because you can easily read on the Kindle if you are standing up and walking around if you have restless legs. As I do. But thanks to Strattera it is in abeyance and I have hope for the future. Beware, young people, the things that await you in the middle aged world and beyond (if you make it that far).
We are now in October and there are some really nice things coming out on FB. Lots of goolish things. Are you going to a Halloween party? It’s all about your fantasies and good luck with that. Mine have been captured by “The King” lately and so I was out walking and thinking about the dark man in his novel this morning. Yes, I was focusing for a few moments on that close disciple of Satan and then, with a shudder, I continued on down the road and put him out of mind. It was a good walk. The sky is dry and sunny. The temperature was perfect. We got home without any close encounters with cars although several drivers wanted to park along the road and appeared to be trying to run me over for just a second or two.
When I reached home I looked down at the smartphone to turn the stupid thing off and there it was. . . You have walked 6.66 miles in a little over 90 minutes.
I had thought it was a pretty good workout. Until this moment. But had your faithful blogger summoned a response from the dark man? Could it be that he is having a little joke with me?
I hope not. We try to be anonymous as we drive the roads and hike along the mountain paths. We do not worry too much about drivers who are out of their gourds with alcohol or bears that need a next meal, desperately.
But it is October. And Halloween is just around the corner. Rest easy my fellow passengers on the lightship Earth. We will make until Christmas and the birth of our savior. Or, at least, most of us will. . .
We had a lot of entertainment around our little city this past weekend. There was the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont Park where you would have found me on Saturday listening to Maestro J, Kim Waters and Keiko Matsui. Kim Waters was a lot of fun with his verbal commentary along with some amazing saxophone riffs punctuated with awesome high notes that probably had birds flying for miles in the woods. At one point he introduced his daughter (whose name I do not remember) who just graduated from Howard University and sat in on the keyboards. She did a great job and I could see Dad standing in the background with a proud smile on his face. He had audience members walking up to the stage and giving him drinks before the set was finished. It was all very cozy with some very cool music and the sun came out too!
Earlier it was raining quite a bit but no matter because Keiko Matsui was in the house and I made my way up to the stage to sit near her and feel the amazing vibe her music brings to the world. So very beautiful. Afterwards I went to the Meet and Greet (which I never have felt impelled to do) to talk to her and touch her hand. What a delicate, powerful, spiritual force she is!
On Sunday Betsy and I went downtown to see Cirque du Soleil Dralion and experienced the wondrous combination of color, dance, music and athletic accomplishment that is their trademark.
Our little city did itself proud and once again I was appreciative of it as a place to live without big city problems but still able to attract world class entertainment. We have the mountains (where I will be going soon) and the ocean (also on the list), DC is a couple of hours up the road and there is so much history all around us.
I didn’t get any photos either day because both places said not to bring DSLR cameras. Maymont said not to bring umbrellas either but when it started to rain hundreds of umbrellas sprouted in the air. I, of course, sat there is the rain but was wearing some nylon hiking and running gear that dried quickly. It was so warm out it really was nice in the rain! And there were lots of folks there with pro cameras there also! Maymont did not impress in this regard. Also, they encouraged the patrons to walk through the lovely park and see the exhibits while we were there. But then they locked the bathrooms! If you were somewhere outside the festival area and needed to go you were out of luck! Check with the bears ( I guess) if you had a problem. They know what to do in the woods.
So now I have loaded some Keiko Matsui music in the smartphone and will take her on walks for the rest of my life. Because she is a dream and we need those as we go down the path. Next year, if she returns, I will be there (with a camera!) and get a photo of the amazing artist and the blogger (in a blissful trance). Please return Keiko! Here she is playing the music that brought the inner sun out in the middle of a rain shower. Truly, the heavens opened up on this day.
Early this morning the air was cool and a bit dry (for a change). It made for a nice walk although I only did six miles because my blistered toe started to hurt again. After walking I took a look at it and the blister was greatly enlarged. My idea that it would be good for it to simply have contact with air was not correct. So I drained it again and added some sterile dressing. Then I wrapped the three toes together with tape so they can’t rub against each other and cause friction. It feels much better. Dr. Thomas has left the building.
But, getting back to the dry air, today marks the first day where there is a slight hint of fall. Last month was the hottest month on record in the U.S. Not the hottest July but the hottest month of any month since we have been keeping record. So this morning’s weather was a blessed event and one that was deeply appreciated (even if accompanied by annoying pain).
My tooth feels better too. The dentist had to shave more of it off to make room for a new crown after the old one cracked. The root of the tooth felt “insulted” and has been protesting ever since this happened. But I left it alone and it has relaxed a bit. I told it “Whatever does not kill you will make you stronger” and it apparently agreed. In general, my teeth have been doing much better since I started walking. My dental hygienist has remarked that my gums look much better and she couldn’t find any cavities for the second time.
I feel stronger on a daily basis and love to walk. I have to walk in the early morning to feel good. I sleep better. I deal with these little adversities more effectively. This morning I went out and saw someone walking towards me from a distance. When he was quite near I looked up to say “Good morning” and was surprised to see our next door neighbor. He looked better than the last time I saw him in a white t-shirt and shorts, slightly soaked in sweat and with a smile. He’s a few years older than me and has had some more serious health problems. So the walk started on a high note. I hope he stays with it. He won’t regret it if he does.
It may just be my imagination but I seem to be seeing more people walking in our neighborhood as time goes on. But it makes sense that folks would see the parade happening in the a.m. and decide to join the fun. It’s not unusual to see ten walkers and joggers in a two hour span. And there are always a few bicyclists as well. I wish them well and worry about their futures. We have had a few deaths in Richmond recently from road accidents. The crazy drivers run them down. You will never see me on a bicycle.
Today while I was walking I wondered about the future and how it will feel a few years from now to be walking along these roads. How will my body feel? Will a be able to run comfortably the way I walk now? What will I have learned about my body? It is teaching me things now about so many things; the foods it needs, the repairs it requires, the strength I didn’t realize it still has on a daily basis. What will it feel like to be 65 or 70 years old? Can I evade the scary things I see happening to older folks (and younger ones too) all around me? Where is all this leading?
I know it is leading somewhere. But I can’t see clearly where it is going. It is an adventure. And today I look forward with great anticipation to the colorful foliage falling on the road in just a few weeks, warm breath condensing in the cold air, the smell of piles of leaves and grass and the sounds of the geese moving out in formation towards a distant home.
And a toe that is healed along with the body it steers around potholes and other potential problems.
So it has been one year this week since I started walking and in that time I’ve done 296 workouts, burned 175 thousand calories and walking 1750 miles around the University of Richmond and our neighborhood. I lost 55 pounds and I’m sitting here eating some B and J’s cookie dough ice cream with chocolate sauce for breakfast. I realize that’s not a good thing to be eating but it tastes good. Sometime soon I’m going to start moving towards foods with anti-inflammatory properties in hopes that they will help with the restless legs.
I don’t see any reason to ever stop walking in the morning. Old age can be scary and it seems like regular exercise could be a way of persuading it to tread lightly on the aging corpuscles. Having restless legs or any other chronic condition gives one some invaluable insight into the dark possibilities that potentially lie down the road. So, let’s walk people. It’s easy, convenient and after awhile, even pleasurable. Why not explore the world of good habits? Lord knows, some of us have spent enough time exploring the other ones.
Laramie, Wyoming is about 1750 miles from Richmond, Va. so I didn’t make it across the US in one year! This is not a problem, however, and I’m thinking we definitely can do it next year!
There are also some exciting events coming up soon. More organized activities like the Maymont X-country Festival that includes an 8 mile run along the banks of the James River! And then there’s the Richmond Marathon in November (again). This time I’m going to do it with proper footwear. You can mess up your feet pretty easily doing these things. And you can mess yourself up hiking up mountains without replacing electrolytes too! As I look back on this past year I feel fortunate to be here. I didn’t get run over, die from dehydration and get bitten by a rattlesnake. But can’t we all say that no matter what we are doing? You can run out of luck sitting in front of your computer and not getting exercise.
But it’s a good idea to LEARN from these experiences and try to be safe, use the right equipment and be cautious. Good habits are the way to go and willpower is the engine that will take us there. And this engine will run quite easily if we are able to remember during those weak moments what it is that we really want. Do you want ice cream? Or do you want to fit into those stylish jeans? Well, you can have both! But you need to exercise every day. You need to put one foot in front of the other and go out the door. It’s really not very difficult. Take your favorite tunes, say good-bye to your problems and give yourself a break.
There are things I would like to give up completely and that’s a different story. I still want to drink vodka and smoke Marlboro’s every day but I can’t walk and have them too. I’ve learned a breathing technique recently that helps with this. When you want something you can’t have spend a couple of minutes focusing on your breathing. Try to slow it down to 4 or 5 breaths per minute. I find that the craving is gone after a couple minutes doing this exercise.
I need to spend as much time every day meditating as I do walking. The next step is meditating more. A SRF lesson suggests breathing in while counting to twelve (while walking). Holding the breath for a twelve count. And then exhaling for another twelve count. Do this twenty five times. Apparently you can do both things at once!
There are always more steps. There are always places to go. That’s just the way it is. And, if you don’t believe this, you have possibly started to become old. I was old when I was 25 years old and now I’m getting younger! You are dealing with a contrary kind of person and a blogger who will share things you won’t get anywhere else!