Slower and Shorter
It's starting to feel like spring (even though it's BEEN spring for over a month now) and I'm committed to my daily morning walks again. While I've been a "walker" for most of my life, I really became dedicated in 2011; first doing indoor walking videos. The video that I used for nearly a year was great and I was clocking in approximately 5 miles in an hour and 5 minutes. But after a while videos get a little boring so I ventured outside. (Side note: I still use videos during the colder/darker month and when the weather is inclement. Although I have 4 or 5 to choose from, most of the time I return to that same one that I started with which supposedly has me moving at a 12 minute mile.)
I love walking outdoors in the morning. I like seeing the sky change from dark to light. I notice new things every day; even if I walk the same route. (Although I do like to vary it daily; even if just by a little bit.) But no matter how hard I try, my outdoor pace isn't on par with my indoor pace. (At least going by what the video tells me.) Of course inside I am "walking" on a nice carpeted surface; outside I have to contend with hills, uneven surfaces, and have to dodge the occasional critter as well as watch out for traffic. The closest I have ever come is was nearly a year ago when I managed to average a mile in 16:04 (and walked almost 6.5 miles; which tells me it was a Saturday). More recently, the best I've come up with is 17:06 in February of this year. For the most part my pace is over 18 minutes a mile.
I don't know why I am so obsessed with this 18 minute thing, but I AM! It's dark when I go out, which might make my pace a little slower, but...I put the local radio station on (so I have music and news which helps me keep track of the time) and Map My Walk which tells me how far I've gone, how long I've been walking and my average speed. When that digital female voice cuts in over the radio and says I've gone one mile in eighteen minutes and forty five seconds, something inside of me wants to scream in frustration. It also bothers me that the mile doesn't seem to be exact. I usually start my route the same way every day. I go down my street, across another and do a loop around a block. Sometimes I reach a mile before I make the right hand turn and some days it’s after I've made the turn. This is really annoying, especially as I have mapped it out on the computer and I SHOULD be reaching a mile before the turn. I want an accurate mileage and time.
But back to the 18 minute mile. Because I am walking slower (even though I feel like I am walking at the same pace I always have), my walks are shorter. There is only so much time I have in a morning. I want to get as many miles in as I can in an hour, but since I'm going slower I'm going less miles. To try and combat that, I'm walking longer. For example today I walked 4.62 miles which took me an hour and twenty five minutes. In June of last year I was able to walk 5.08 in the same amount of time. And that just drives me bats. (Because, and I'll freely admit it, it's the little things that drive me crazy.) Is this what turning 50 means? Everything starts to slow down, except for weight gain? (Totally unfair!)
I mean I'd like to blame this all on the app. Or on my sneakers (my old ones aren't good enough; my new ones I'm not used to yet). Or even the music that I listen to (slower music; slower pace). But when we get down to brass tacks, it's me. If I want to get more miles in, I'm going to have to push harder. Or I'm just going to have to accept that "18" is the new norm. Or maybe a combination of the both.
The one thing that I DO need to remember and focus on is that I am doing it. Even though the weight loss has ended, I need to keep going. (Who knows what I might have GAINED pound wise if I wasn't doing what I was doing?) I don't have to do five miles a day. Maybe I don't even have to get up at 4:30 on weekday mornings to do it. Maybe I go out at 5:15 and walk only for 45 minutes and get less than 3 miles in. The important thing is to keep moving; to keep active.
Who knows; maybe with this in mind (and less focus on time and distance) unexpected things might happen.