Twenty of us gathered at the cemetery and after our group picture was taken we started our walk through the cemetery. Most of us stayed within visual range of each other. Being so close to each other most of us were within hearing range of various conversations. The conversation that has remained with me is the one about expectations being barriers to getting and staying off the couch.
It seems that quite a few people give up before they start walking or shortly after starting to walk because they have the expectation that they should be fit enough to do a marathon or they should look a certain way to enter the marathon or they should be able to walk 2 K without huffing or puffing.
Since I found this disturbing I decided to write this blog for our recent newcomers who have moved off the couch and may be thinking of returning to it because of all these or other like type of expectations. There is something you need to know about those of us who have walked the distance . Maybe the revelation will be too much for you to handle , maybe it will shock you but nevertheless it needs to be said.
What you need to know is that for most of us long distance walkers we, during or shortly after attempting to complete our first 1 K, thought our lungs were going to pop out of our chest and vibrate on the ground in front of us. Weeks later, lungs still inside our body, (during and for some of us shortly after our first 5K),our hamstrings, calves and/or shins sent very strong messages that they would give out under us . We imagined the dreaded image of us ungraciously falling to the ground in one large heap, ambulances being called and someone waving their finger in front of our face saying â€śAre you crazy? What are you doing to yourself?â€?
As we continued (often mystified that we did not fall in a heap, or need to be whisked away to the hospital), we started to move the limiting expectations we had and the old negative imagery out of our lives . We started to carve out space and time so that there was room for us to move. For some of us it went as far as us carving out a space and time so that there was room for us to move what we wanted out of our lives and move things we wanted into our lives.
In other words, here it is, please sit before reading the next few words, many of us are former couch potatoes. Yes, though not members of couch potato anonymous, there are among us reformed couch potatoes.
Now it is not to say that walking does not require a particular technique or form, a ‘to do’ and ‘not do to’ list of activities. You will find that several of us reformed couch potatoes and non reformed couch potatoes alike (we mingle quite well in our group) will go to a variety of organizations to attain or update our walking technique i.e. WoW , Ontario Race Walkers etc. It is important to be trained properly and often members of our group leave to be trained and then return. Some of us subscribe to magazines and others read books on the subject of walking . Being informed is very important but it unlikely to sustain you . The application of the technique, walking the distance and let’s not forget our gatherings and weekly breakfasts, together sustain those of us who are reformed couch potatoes. In other words walking is holistic; it is not narrowly defined. It’s inclusive.
There are those of us who are very fast and some of us are very slow but the majority of us did not start out at an elite level. We have no expectations or goals for you, but we have a lot of encouragement and information to share.
During the next few days I will be walking the distance in Trinidad. If there are no family members in Trinidad who walk the distance then I walk it on my own. God willing, if my ankle is OK and I will walk the Goofy (Orlando Jan. 8,9). If not, then I will get better and walk the distance later. When I return to walk with everyone again, probably the third weekend in January 2011, at the cemetery, I will either have another story or be in training for another marathon in 2011.
So there you have it. Hopefully most of your negative expectations and assumptions about where you should be are smashed. We are soon to enter into 2011. Stay with us as we walk the distance. Come to Sherryâ€™s on the Dec. 19th and in the New Year formally join the Toronto Power Walkers. A financial commitment (only $50) will keep you coming back.
From a reformed couch potato to you I want to state it is, it is, it is possible to be one of many reformed couch potatoes, it is, it is possible to move, it is, it is possible to keep moving, to keep learning and updating technique . Come, leave forever the illusionary comfort of the couch and with us – walk the distance .