Joining a walking group probably wouldn't be a big deal to most, but it is a huge deal for me for two reasons. The first is physical, I was a girl who was 272 pounds and would go up 7 stairs to my bedroom and have to stop and rest. I am obviously not that same girl anymore, but I do still have arthritis in my knees, a metal plate in my leg and screws in my ankle. The second reason is the fact that I am shy at first, so agreeing to join a GROUP of strangers was something I would have never done before starting this weight loss journey.
I had been having a rough time emotionally, and I don't necessarily want to go into all of that here, but that paired with TOM sent me reeling and I needed a change. I need to get out there, I needed to do more, I needed to meet new people. As I was googling I came across a site called meetup.com. I decided to check it out. I love to walk so I wanted to find a walking group in the area. At first I almost gave up, because most groups were HIKING groups. I can walk like a champ, but hiking, not so much! What I did appreciate about this site is they were very descriptive and specific in what they were doing. They would tell you mileage/hills/stairs etc. A lot of these people were doing big hikes in the mountains, and that is simply not for me. Not just because of the fact that I am out shape, but also the fact that I am clumsy. I am the female Steve Urkel. I mean, I can trip over my own 2 feet, I earned my metal plate and screws breaking my leg and ankle falling down the stairs.
So I have to be careful not to have a repeat of that incident.
When I was about to give up, I found the golden nugget. A group that meets 5 minutes from my house and walks 3.5 miles at the college once a week, and at 6pm. That is huge for me as I work nights, and many people were walking at 8am. I was a little intimidated because they said there would be hills, but they encouraged me to come.
I went, and at first I wasn't so sure about this. We started off with a lot of stairs. They were skinny (in height) and there were a lot of landings, so it wasn't too terrible. I was breathing hard at the end of it and my heart was pounding. I immediately thought "I'm not doing this again." Then we hit the trails. Okay, then I thought, I REALLY am never doing this again. It wasn't so much that the hills were hard (okay they were), but the scary part for me is the rocks and the paths, and even though it is a trail it is very uneven. All I could think about was that I was going to bite the dust. I was also in the back of about a 13 person group, but I had company with one fabulous young lady. I told a few people about how I was clumsy and I had to be very careful not to fall.
Every so often, the group would stop and allow us slow pokes time to catch up and regroup before moving forward. I appreciated that. I also appreciated that no one seemed to really be bothered by having to wait, and no one was ever telling us to hurry up. I would rather be slow, careful and not fall than try to hustle and catch up and hurt myself. So I like the fact that they were understanding that I was slower and starting out. As the walk went on, I felt more confident in not only being able to complete this but I also felt more steady and less likely to fall... although still cautious lol.
They said this was the longest walk they ever did, which was accidental because one of the gates was locked and sent us on a detour. 4.25 miles we did, and they usually do 3.5. The only bad thing was, the route we took was longer, but not as many hills. So next time it will be shorter but it will have more hills, and that's a little intimidating.
The true test well come Thursday afternoon when I wake up. If this has managed to flare up my arthritis and caused my knees to swell, then I won't be able to keep doing this. I am really, really hoping that my knees are okay with this, because I really enjoyed it and plan to keep up with this weekly for quite some time. So wish me luck that I don't wake up with knees the size of bowling balls.
Of course Sparky still needed his walk, so after a few hours of rest he got a 1.5 mile walk, and he was happy with that. Overall, I had a blast, and stepping out of my comfort zone and meeting new people was totally worth it. Hopefully I will improve and even if I'm always destined to "bring up the rear", hopefully the rear won't be too far from the front. :)
Thursday afternoon update: My knees are not sore or swollen so if it stays this way I can join them next Wednesday! I'm very excited! :)
The bonus, we got to see some of the farm animals at the college. I couldn't get a good picture of the calf, but the sheep and goats were adorable. :)