My knee’s been old and busted ever since I tore my meniscus in my early twenties, so it’s been difficult for me to run for any length of time for a little over a decade. Days of remorse usually follow a lengthy jog. I gave up on Couch to 5K in the second week because it hurt so much. I will run to chase after an escaped dog, which happens more often than you’d think (looking at you, boy dog).
Walking, however, is completely all right, given I’m wearing my knee brace and my ankle sleeve. One of my favorite things in the world is to get kitted up and go wandering around my neighborhood in the spring and autumn. Music is completely optional. I’ve usually got my cell phone; I send out occasional tweets, I take pictures of the sky, and I keep it on me to make it easier to track my whereabouts if I disappear into the back of a windowless white van or space ship or whatever. Long walks are one of the few opportunities I have to listen to music in a fairly quiet setting, given how loud my old sedan is getting. I love the wind in my face, seeing the moon if I’m walking at night (which I used to do quite a bit), enjoying the nature around me. I’m glad that I’ve found such a low impact sport that’s good for my joint health and that I enjoy. When I get to be a little old lady, as much as I can stand to, I’m taking myself and my little fluffy, yappy dogs to the park every day for walkies.
Because I am an aspiring (if usually broke) philanthropist, eager to offer information, money, and effort to the causes I support, I completely get behind races and walks for charity organizations. I’m not really great at fundraising, but I try to contribute most of my fundraising goal myself and concentrate on enjoying the event. I’ve participated in two events yearly for the last two years. In 2012, I plan to double the number of walk participations I’ve done and perhaps add more. Because the heat in Dallas is so awful during the summer, I’ve tried to stick to events in non-summer and non-summer-adjoining months.
The events I’ve done:
Komen for the Cure for breast cancer screening/research
Give Thanks. Walk for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
The walks I plan to do for the first time this year:
- Get Your Rear in Gear, a colon cancer event. I’m participating, perhaps against my better judgment, in the June 23rd Dallas/Fort Worth event in Fort Worth. The heat will probably be completely miserable, but I’ll deal with getting myself into that situation come June. Other events in the U.S. are listed in the right sidebar.
- Twitter Road Race, an event this coming Saturday, January 21st. It is a self-motivated 5K without a cause, open to Twitter users around the world.
At this point, I hope you’re not rolling your eyes and thinking, “Ooh, look at me, I’m Eve with her stupid fitness blog self-promotion, I go OUTSIDE and do THINGS that are more important than anything anyone else has going on!” I really don’t want to be that person, rubbing my participation in charity events or fitness events in other people’s faces. I am not better than anyone else for doing these things, nor do I want to come off that way. I just get excited about being helpful, because I’m a dork, and I get exuberant about exercise, because I love being active. These are things that make me glad to be alive.
I know a couple of people in meatspace who are doing the Twitter Road Race, which is an event that has no cause, has no entry fee, gives no t-shirt, and has no official ribbon color. Its mascot may be a sneaker-clad Fail Whale, for all I know. The event doesn’t mean much, perhaps, except to the participant, who takes away a sense of accomplishment at having fulfilled a commitment to themselves to be active. But it does have its own cause to support. The blog writer who started the Twitter Road Race asks his readers why we run. Here’s my answer:
If I could run, I would. Injury has made me know how important it is to keep the machine that is the human body working correctly and how much I took it for granted in the past. I walk and exercise in order to improve my health and to keep myself as fit as possible for as long as I’m on this earth. I participate in these walking events because my life has been touched in important ways by the diseases they fight and by the people fighting them, be they friends or strangers. I walk alone on dark week nights or sunny Sunday afternoons and with strangers on the other side of an internet connection because each of us is our own caretaker; we’re investing in our own long-term health.
We can’t predict, control, or stop every awful thing that time, disease, and accident do to our bodies, but we can fight the good fight as long as we are able. Allons-y.