I began my year of walking more right after Thanksgiving. I live in a very walkable neighborhood in Great Bend. My house is just blocks from most of the things I need, as well as my job. There are restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment of all sorts, clothing stores, gift stores, grocery stores, banks, doctors and dentists offices, schools, convenience stores--you name it, it’s probably within walking distance of where I live. And for me, walking distance is about a half-mile. That’s six blocks, for simplicity’s sake. Not even enough to work up a sweat.
Well, the weekend I vowed to start my year-long experiment, a frigid cold front blew into Great Bend, and we had some snow. Shortly after that, we had what I call “The Great Holly Ball Blizzard of 2013”. Snow on the ground for days and days finally gave my dear husband the motivation to buy a snowblower. And as I write today, it’s snowing again. The whole town seems to be shut down over a few inches of snow — which fell over a thin, spotty sheet of ice. Once again I found myself grateful for my winter gear.
The gear now includes a pair of DueNorth traction devices that I can step into and slip over the soles of my shoes and boots. They have sharp metal spikes that dig into the ice and keep you from slipping. They aren’t meant for walking on anything else though.
This makes them about as convenient as the chains you’ll be required to put on your tires if you try driving in the mountains of Colorado in snow-packed and icy conditions. Put them on, travel across the ice. Get to your destination, take them off. While they sound like an inconvenience, they sure beat slipping and falling. Which I’ve done far too much of this year.
I’ve fallen stepping out my back door and down the four concrete steps to the walk below. I’ve fallen out of my truck, slipping on black ice, my elbow the sore casualty this time. There was a fall in my driveway that left me staring up at the sky, catching my breath. And there have been a few slips on snowy streets that left me feeling grateful there were no witnesses.
I haven’t fallen that many times since I was a child. Each time, I either didn’t have the traction devices yet, or had neglected to put them on. Lesson learned.
So why do I keep doing this? Why not throw in the towel and say I’ll just wait until winter is over? Not because I like looking and feeling like a professional hockey player. I keep at it because if I don’t, it would reinforce a bad habit of not following through on creating a good habit I really believe would benefit me. If I give in, and stop walking now, because the weather isn’t perfect, what will I do in the Spring, when it rains or is windy? How about the Summer, when it’s hot outside? How about the Fall? Okay, let’s face it, there is nothing really bad at all about walking in the Fall. But I don’t want to be someone that only walks in the Fall.
I’m not losing any weight yet . In fact, my clothes feel exactly the way they did earlier. But I’m feeling better. I feel stronger. I have more energy. I feel more creative. I’m less stressed out. I sleep better and I smile more. That’s worth nursing a sore keister over.
Tribune reporter Veronica Coons can be reached at email@example.com