April 23

Boise Run/Walk: First Season Review

I’ve survived an entire season at Boise Run/Walk and loved it.  I say survive because I’m one of those people who shun other people.  I find large crowds exhausting and frustrating; interacting with people makes me anxious. Despite this I thought I’d give Boise Run/Walk a try.

I wasn’t having any luck getting any exercise on my own. However, in my past, when I was held accountable, I got quite a bit of exercise and my favorite of the exercises I had been doing was Running and Walking. So, with the hope that I’d get the same accountability with the group that I’d had with a student personal trainer and a college coach, I signed up for the winter semester.

Almost immediately, I was made to feel welcome but not overwhelmed.  The members were also every shape and size.  Some were life-long joggers/walkers, others, like me were couch potatoes.  We would meet at one of two locations. For the first hour or so, there’d be a discussion on health or running, whether it was proper nutrition, hydration, form or something else.  I learned a lot during these sessions, though I still need to put a lot of it to practice. Prizes were sometimes offered for best answer or best question… I was the lucky winner of one of them. One of the prizes was a gift card at a store I’d never heard of much less been to.

However at the store I learned even more about running from the sales personnel, and got a lot of the equipment I needed to be a more successful walker.  I can’t tell you the difference that simply walking in the right kind of shoes will do for you.  In the wrong shoes, I ended up with blisters so bad I had red skin underneath and my back was killing me.  In the proper shoes, my discomfort was a minimum. Also a hydration belt is a BIG help when you’re walking more than three or four miles, especially uphill.

After the class, everyone would walk around the neighborhood or park. This gave me the advantage of knowing my goal, my destination but not having to see tons and tons of people passing me over and over like they would if we were simply running around on a track or in a gym.  That would have frustrated me and probably resulted in me quitting early on.  But with us in a neighborhood or park, I was usually to my half-way point by the time I saw other members return from their distance.  Those training for Robie almost always went twice the distance I did and ran or jog it.  They’d encourage me to keep going when they saw me with something as simple as “Almost there” or “Keep it up.”

Although most members seemed to be runners or joggers, I found myself in a small group of walkers, who also made sure I didn’t wind up going the wrong way.  I didn’t know the area well, and probably still have a lot more places to explore. However, Boise Run/Walk did introduce me to some great walking/running trails.

My group encouraged me to stretch out sore muscles and keep walking, especially when we were walking uphill.  Although I was slowing them down they were patient, allowing me to take the time I needed.   On flat ground, I was more mobile. I let my group dictate the speed of the walk, as they moved faster than me, so I still got a workout in simply walking.

I never felt intimidated because of a lack of my own abilities, which I’ve felt before in classes.
At one point I ended up needing to take Katelynn, my seven-year-old sister with me on one of the walks.  Either that or miss a Saturday and I’d already missed two thanks to a trip I took in January.  She was welcomed as easily as I was.  She had a blast and insisted on returning with me.  The few times she didn’t return with me, members asked about her.

I tended to push myself too hard when I exercised regularly. So I decided to take Coach Steve’s advice and simply spend the season walking, no jogging, no running.  Simply walk.  Get a base started.  This sentiment was recommended to me by several members as well.  I took their advice to heart. I finished the season without having run or jogged once. I accomplished a lot in simply doing this.  I can walk farther with fewer pains.  I have more stamina and feel more prepared for a more strenuous workout.

Now that the season is over and the spring season is starting, I plan on doing intervals, walking and running on my Saturdays.  I probably won’t be very good at this for a while.  Even running a full minute will probably be near impossible for the first month, but if I stick to it, I imagine I’ll be able to run a full minute without slowing or stopping and then run two minutes, then three.  It’s the small steps that make out the large leaps in your life.  And I’m looking forward to the new regiment I’ll be pushing on my body and another two seasons with Boise Run/Walk.  Hopefully when I need to sign up for another season, my fourth one, I’ll have the money for the membership then as well.

Boise Run/Walk has been a great experience for me.  I have a lot more to learn from the group, and about myself. And I recommend everyone join who may be interested in walking, running or jogging.

February 3

Boise Run/Walk II

I am getting used to walking now.  The main evidence I have of this is that my back didn’t stiffen up during my cool down today.  My lower back has a tendency to tighten up to the point of not being able to move when I do any kind of exercise.  At this point I’d be tempted to start increasing my pace, switch between walk and a jog and a run.  However with the roads and sidewalks being slick with ice, I didn’t think it safe.  I’m not going the Robie training distances everyone else seems to be doing, otherwise I would have needed to walk seven miles today.  I’m fine with going the shorter distance.  I’m not in-shape well enough to try keeping up with those with more experience than me, but I would like to figure out how everyone seems to move so quickly on the slick roads.

Because of my slower pace I am quickly left behind.  This has, unfortunately  resulted in me sometimes being unsure where to go. We don’t go to the same places every week.  Last weekend we climbed Shaw Mountain, today we headed toward a park.  This week and last week I didn’t find the cone marking the half-way mark for the 10k trainers. I’m not sure if I just turned back before the cone was supposed to appear or if I took a wrong turn at some point.  I’d like someone who knows how to get to the cone to escort me down, but I also understand my pace doesn’t make that comfortable for a lot of people.  Their are people who will escort you, but they tend to escort a large group and they stay at the groups pace instead of at the slowest persons pace.  So they leave me behind early in the walking journey.

None of this really bothers me.  My main goal in joining Run/Walk was to get me to exercise regularly and in that respect the program has been successful for me.  I’ve also had some nice conversations with some of the other members.  The free advice I get from physical therapists and the massage occasionally offered the walks has been a big help as well. For this season my goal is to get used to moving my body, enjoying it like I once I did and looking forward to long walks, anywhere.  My weight is an issue. I believe that’s the main reason my knees and feet will mainly protest, though being flat-footed doesn’t help. But I’ve already lost some weight since joining this program. I’m feeling stronger as well.

Right now I am wanting to sign up for the Spring Season. With me hopefully having gained a good walking/jogging/running foundation during my current season (winter), I would like to work on speed and distance during my second season. We’ll see how the rest of this season goes and if I can afford a spring season membership closer to when that date runs around.

As of now, I do recommend anyone interested in joining a Run/Walk group to join Boise Run/Walk.  Those who are more social than me would probably be better at making friends than I.  The group is friendly, helpful and easily to talk to. Everyone seems to make an effort at learning people’s names, though the group is large enough that it can be hard to imagine someone being able to know everyone’s names.