Walking 1000 miles

I’ve now walked more than 1,000 miles since last September. It sounds very Forrest Gumpian, and perhaps it is a bit, but walking has been helpful to my body and my mind.

Last September my wife Beth passed away after struggling with ALS. She had been diagnosed the previous November, so its impact in her case was like a runaway train. ALS is a neurological disease and is still undefeated, through research makes the likelihood of finding a cure in the future much more hopeful.

In the months prior to her passing, I was Beth’s primary caregiver, along with family and professional caregivers. The idea of a leisurely stroll wasn’t even on my radar screen.  

But when Beth passed in mid-September, I began walking. I’ve walked with my children, Carolyn and Carl, particularly Carolyn since she continued to live with me (and will be returning to NYC shortly). I’ve gone on walks with friends as well, through neighborhoods, cities, trails and the shore boardwalk.

My #1 companion on my walks is me. I most often walk alone. I have always been comfortable with my own company. (BTW, important skills for a consultant)

In reality 1000+ miles—the distance to Florida, sounds ridiculously long, but I have achieved it in bite sized pieces. I walk 5-6 miles on average daily. And I usually do so in 2 stints or roughly 2-3 miles each. 5-6 miles daily is roughly 12,000-15,000 steps a day. I do more steps in many days, but less in the rain.  Snow was fine, but heavy rain is a bummer. I did accomplish 20,000+ steps for 6 consecutive days a couple months back, but now have backed off to roughly 15,000 steps daily. That’s fine too. With walking there is no finish line.

5-6 miles per day is also roughly 150-180 miles per month, and I’ve now walked for 8 months so the math puts me at roughly 1200-1400 miles since Beth has passed in September. COVID had surely been a factor too, particularly pre-vaccine when I was reluctant to go drive anywhere other than a Dunkin run or a stop at Wawa. Walking got me out of the house, and has given me an enjoyable activity.  

Forrest Gump ran because he wanted to, and likewise I walk because I like to. It’s good for my body, and I’ve lost a few pounds (but more to go). Though not super aerobic, walking is surely good exercise. My Thursday night basketball provides a higher level of aerobic activity for me (despite my truly meager level of play). I do also intend to rejoin a gym in the coming months.   

What walking has provided me in the wake of Beth’s passing is time to reflect, grieve, plan and think about life ahead. I’ve solved nothing with these thoughts, other than being copasetic with appreciating that my life will evolve into something positive and joyful yet to be determined.

I’ve also developed a deeper appreciation for Spotify. I’ve loaded 250 of my musical faves (heavy on 70-80s) and I listen to them regularly as I walk listening through my virtually invisible high tech ear buds—more on them in a future Struming. I’ll probably layer in some podcast listening shortly so as not to burn out my appreciation for Somebody’s Baby, Come and Get Your Love, What a Fool Believes, Ripple, and Hey Nineteen, songs I never tire of.

I am excited about the summer months ahead and intend to use my shore place in Belmar as my focal residence at least through late Summer. The Boardwalk which in my case is Asbury Park down to Spring Lake provides a great stroll, an ocean to gaze at, a cool breeze, and great people watching.

As part of my walking regimen, I’ve also become a beloved customer of Asics and now own 5 pairs. GT-2000 9 size 13. When you find a pair of shoes you like that provides support to my plus frame, you go for it. No fooling around. My buddy Tom Swider provided the inspiration for increasing my Asics collection up to 5 pair.

In COVID era my wardrobe has largely become t shirts (mostly Yankees or Grateful Dead—I own a couple of crossover-Yankees/Dead t shirts too), sweats, or shorts, and my walking shoes. I will put my Belmar t shirts in heavier rotation too in the coming weeks. I do “dress up” and wear pants with a zipper and shirts with a collar when the situation calls for it. But the idea of wearing a suit and tie as I did last Century seems so yesterday, and it was awhile back. Never again for me. My collection of ties has thinned to a handful, of largely Jerry Garcia ties. Jerry lives, at least in neckwear.

But walk I shall. I will think, move my body, be entertained, be educated, be pensive, sing along. I also provide perfectly timed voice-over intros to my favorite songs, a remnant from my 80s weekend DJ work.

But most of all I will keep on truckin’. Like the do-dah man.  

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