Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In the beginning...

I work in the phone center of a small financial institution, just six hours west of Boston.  One of the nice things about my office is that it's located in a rural community several miles from the suburbs.  Truthfully, it's out in the middle of nowhere.  The only intersection in town is regulated by a blinking, four-way stoplight.  There’s a small tavern on one corner, where they have local beer and a great fish fry on Friday nights.  On the second corner, there’s a family-owned jewelry store, as well as a small yoga studio, where I attend classes once a week.  I think the building on the third corner has been empty for awhile, so it’s not really worth mentioning.  I’ve already wasted six seconds of your time by bringing it up...  Sorry...  There’s a gas station and convenience store on the fourth corner.

On my lunch, I often go for walks on the gravel hiking trail, which crosses the road near the main intersection in town.  The stretch that I frequent passes along several backyards, crosses an old railroad bridge over a chattering stream, and continues across another road towards the next town.  At the town line, I always turn around to be sure that I make it back to the office in time.

Now that I'm not going out on my 
lunch break as often to get coffee, 
I've started drinking tea at my desk. 
It's not the same... but it does the 
trick.  We do have one of those Keurig 
machines in the break room, but the 
slop that squirts out of it tastes
like old dishwater most of the time.
Lately, I've been walking much more often during my lunch hour.  I used to drive to a local coffee shop about six miles down the road.  I'd spend $1.71 on a small coffee... or $4.25 for a medium mocha-type concoction of some sort.  Then, I'd jump in my car, drive back to the office, and spend the remainder of my lunch listening to the Jim Rome show in the office parking lot.  One of my goals this year is to drive fewer miles and spend less money on overpriced, mediocre coffee.

I’ve also needed to find some sort of aerobic exercise to temporarily replace my daily runs.  I’m currently nursing a sore Achilles tendon, and I haven’t been able to run since a 5-mile Turkey Trot back in November.  In October, I ran my yearly marathon, and I finished without any major aches, pains, or apparent injuries.  I even took two weeks off from running just to let my body recover.  But after getting back on the road, my left Achilles was becoming very sore during, and after, my workouts. I iced and stretched religiously for a few weeks, but it wasn’t getting any better.  I decided to hang up the running shoes for awhile to let myself heal.

Aside from swimming laps at a local pool, I’ve also been walking during my lunch hour, sometimes with my co-worker Abby.  At first, I kept the walks to a brisk pace.  This enabled me to cover three miles during my forty five-minute lunch hour.  But I wanted to find a way to go faster and get my heart rate up even more.  My only choice was to start speed-walking.

The Colts barely eeked into the 
playoffs this year by beating Tennessee 
in their last game of the season.  Can 
you spot the remains of my black 
toenail from where I'm sitting?  It's 
been almost three months since the 
marathon, and the new toenail still 
hasn't grown in completely..
I wasn’t too happy about this.  Both my father and I are avid runners.  When I was a little boy riding with him in the car, he’d point to any speed walkers coming towards us along the shoulder, swinging their arms wildly back and forth.

     “Hey David, look at the dork-walkers!” he’d exclaim, sneering at them through the driver's side window.  We’d both laugh hysterically for a few minutes, as we continued down the road.

He was forced to swallow his pride back in 1999 at the London Marathon.  During his training, he suffered a stress fracture in his shin, and he had to stop running for awhile.  He had already paid the race fee and booked his travel arrangements, so he made the trip anyway.  He dork-walked the entire marathon in just over five hours… not bad for an old guy with a stress fracture.  I commended him for his accomplishment, but I swore that I would never take up dork-walking.

However, last week on my walk, I found myself longing to go at a pace that was slightly faster than ‘brisk’. I turned around to make sure that nobody was watching. I cautiously began swinging my arms back and forth, as if I was running. Then, I sped up my leg turnover to a clumsy, frantic shuffle. I was doing it… I was dork-walking… And I was going FAST! I kept glancing over my shoulder to make sure nobody was watching. On my first day of dork-walking, I covered three miles in just over thirty six minutes. It was really hard work. I was exercising muscles in my legs that aren't typically targeted while running.
As long as I’m on a trail that’s hidden from public view, I’ll continue to dork-walk. But once I hit the main roads, I slow down to a brisk pace with a standard stride. I don’t want to get my ass kicked by a disgusted motorist during my lunch hour. If I saw myself dork-walking, I’m pretty sure I’d want to kick my own ass. I'll be very happy once my Achilles is better and I can start running again.


  1. I do believe that this is the first comment for your blog. W00t!

  2. Um... so what are you saying? Did you want me to mail you some sort of a reward? A ginger-snap cookie, perhaps?

  3. Yes! Please send it to 3000 miles west of Boston.

  4. Rest assured, if a motorist decides to attack you for being a dork-walker, you can always fight him/her off with an animal limb from the trail.

  5. Dave I think photos of you might give away your identity. Juuuuust sayin'.

  6. Listen here, 'jmw said...'. Not everybody was fortunate enough to hang out with me in high school. And FURTHERMORE... nevermind...