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Gotta’ Run: A new respect for walkers

I’ve always enjoyed walking and have done a lot of it. I have no idea how many miles I’ve done, but imagine its pretty significant. My run across N.C. included lots of walking where the road and traffic didn’t have room for me and a baby jogger.

Walking otherwise has meant something different for me than running. Walking has meant a time of peace, reflection and a less challenging workout. In fact, I usually didn’t view my walking as a workout at all. I didn’t push the pace but kept my legs moving comfortably.

This summer has been unusual because I didn’t go on a long bike ride. Physically, there’s been plenty of replacement workouts here on the farm. While not on a bike ride, I ran more. But I didn’t walk much. However, I have developed a habit over a few recent beach trips that has great rewards.

Last summer, I went to Cherry Grove twice in October, my favorite time at the Carolina beaches. I have a running course that is flat and fast, usually going about 5.5 to 6 miles. Afterwards, I drop by the room and grab a dry shirt, my radio and a couple Pop Tarts before heading right back out. With a good run complete, nothing is better than a follow-up walk of about 4-5 miles. With music and an eye toward a beautiful sunrise, I usually walked at a steady pace.

I finished a book during the most recent trip, one about a young woman who completed the Appalachian Trail. Jennifer Pharr Davis returned a second time and set a women’s record covering the 2,193 distance in 46 days and 11 hours. Carrying a 30-pound pack, she regularly walked at a sub- 18 minute pace. Recently, my 83-year-old star client Charles Newsome has pushed the pace as low as 17:26 per mile while walking on an inclined treadmill.

Curious to check my pace, my goal was a fast walk on the last morning before driving home. The previous day, I had been outwalked by some serious and hustling women. This time, I wore shoes with an intent on hustling myself. Wearing my Garmin pace watch, I pushed the effort and for the first 2.5 miles, nobody passed me. Getting faster all the time, I made the turnaround. I noticed someone coughing behind me and realized the guy was getting closer. After looking back, I saw a white-headed guy and a larger woman gaining on me. Determined to stay ahead, I pushed as fast as I could. Sadly, they did pass me and then immediately turned around to head back. My fastest time was a 17:10 mile. A friend told me that she walks with a group of women who hit the upper 15s and 16s.

I was humbled! Serious walkers are getting a great workout. I hurt almost as much after the walk as during the earlier run. Never had I timed myself on a walk, but you can bet I will work on beating those serious walkers next time! I think they look for victims just like the yard dogs search for cyclists in Kentucky.

Some things are happening with local races. The very popular Thanksgiving Day Butterball 5K appears headed to Salisbury Community Park due to City of Salisbury coronavirus restrictions. This race benefits Prevent Child Abuse Rowan. The Santa Run 5K, recently planned for Salisbury, is headed back to Millbridge and the Ruritans building. Bigfoot camping is available again and remains a qualifier for the Bigfoot Olympics in Remer, Minnesota. The New Year’s Day Resolution Run 5K, usually held at The Forum, is TBD at this point. Both the Santa and Resolution 5K races benefit Rowan Helping Ministries. All races follow coronavirus restrictions designated by the Road Runners Club of America.

All upcoming events are listed at www.salisburyrowanrunners.com . 

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