I started walking as an alternative to the Metro or the bus. I like both, but I also like getting to see DC, and public transportation sometimes blocks you off from the city. So that’s why I started walking, which I was actually doing last summer. However, I wasn’t very religious about it. Then my sister told me she was getting married, and I wanted to lose a lot of weight by the wedding (about two weeks ago), so I determined (back in March), to resume my walking, to watch my food intake, and to drop weight.
And, originally: that’s all it was. I would walk home from my part-time job every night that I could. That’s two miles. On weekends that I worked there, I’d walk to and from work. On days I didn’t, I’d walk to the Target in Columbia Heights and back. And then I started taking walks through the city. And when I say “through the city”, that’s a lie, because I usually stick to the same areas: Georgetown, Dupont, Adams Morgan, the National Mall. And usually there was nothing exciting about these. I’d walk south on Connecticut to Dupont, then over to Georgetown, then up Wisconsin, and my feet would ache and I’d be done and eat a whole bag of Ginger Snap cookies and several cold glasses of milk.
And then one day, I went for a walk. My goal was to get to Georgetown University, where I’d never been. Walked out of my apartment, over to 37th Street, then south. Hit Georgetown, they were prepping for some alumni thing, so I beat feet east into Dupont. I was going to catch a bus to Target, but I decided to walk up 18th St. instead. When I got home, I mapped out my route and realized I’d walked over eight miles, which was BY FAR the longest walk I’d done. I mean, maybe not EVER, but certainly since I’ve been in DC.
And then the following week I walked out of my apartment with no real clear plan of what to do on my walk, except that I wanted to see the Library of Congress. I’ve seen it before, I’ve been in it before, I just wanted to go see it again. So I walked down to it, and I sat, and I read, and then I got up, and I walked and I walked and I walked — I walked across the Mall, over to Georgetown, then up Wisconsin. 12.2 miles is what Google maps said, and, can I just say — holy shit?
And I love walking. Love it. Love people watching, and city watching, and finding obscure monuments I knew nothing about, things I never would’ve seen if I were in a car, on a bus, or sitting on a train. On days I don’t work my part time job, I’ll get off the train several stations before or after my destination and walk home from those points.
I didn’t even GET to the gym until last week, when it was so unbearably hot out I couldn’t walk out the front door of my building without immediately becoming a sopping damp mess. Even then, I only went for the cardio machines.
If there’s a point I’m trying to make, it’s this: I’m fortunate in that I live in DC and walking is a legitimate alternative to taking the Metro, I can walk and get to my destination! I know that’s not always the case in the Burbs: highways, no sidewalks, etc. Basically, I had to find where I could begin exercising that had a moderate impact on my life — and from there, it’s just grown. It’s like in war: you just need a beach head, and then will and determination will sustain and expand it.