I can’t imagine how many miles I’ve walked in my life. As a child, I wandered all over the deserts, towns, and cities where I lived. I remember even at five years old, walking across the street to play at the playground at the school. At seven, I walked from our apartment to the park and the store. At Grandma’s I’d walk to Skaggs, The Christian Emporium, or Bashas. I walked around the block just because. In Meiner’s Oaks, I walked to the pool almost daily in summer. In Ventura, I walked to the beach, to the park… just to walk. From place to place I went from walking blocks to miles– often. I’ve always been able to walk almost indefinitely. I have never been physically strong or athletic, but I could walk.
Then I spend a year in a recliner. Do you know what that does to a person’s stamina? Yeah. My stamina didn’t have enough oomph to climb into the toilet so I could say it went down. Gross, but it’s exactly how I felt. Folding laundry wears me out. Mop the floor? Yeah right. Change the sheets? I’ll rest for an hour afterward. Clean the kitchen? I’ll break out in a sweat in minutes. This is just so frustrating. So, I decided to work on it. One mile at a time.
Last Tuesday night, I got in the car and drove around the block and then set the odometer. Each block in our area is .10 mile. That made counting miles easy. So, I decided to do it. One mile per day. I figured if I couldn’t do it, I’d cut back to half a mile, but I was going to try.
Tuesday– By .3 mile, I was breathing hard and didn’t think I’d make it. By .8, I almost stopped, but there’s that stubborn side of me that refused to give in. I got home, grabbed my nebulizer, and collapsed on the couch. However, two minutes into the nebulization, I felt great.
Wednesday- I didn’t struggle at all until about .7 miles. By the time I got home, I didn’t need it. My chest felt funny, but it was fine.
Thursday- By .3 miles, I was really thinking I’d need the nebulizer. By .8 I was struggling, but after I got home and stretched, I was fine. You know, I almost did a mid-walk neb. The difference between exertion and asthma is difficult to ascertain sometimes. I’m really learning a lot about this condition.
Friday- I got the job done. It wasn’t as exciting as other days. I just walked. I was quite sure that by the end of the first week, I’d be able to bump my distance a tenth or five more.
Saturday- I struggled. Oh my, I didn’t think I’d make it until the end. Came home and nebulized. I also realized that I’m consistently hungry at the end of my walks. I was under the understanding that most people lost their appetite for an hour or two after exercising. When I get home, I’m ravenous. It’s a good thing for me. I don’t eat enough, so it’s nice to be hungry again– just not when I’m too tired to make food. Time to buy nuts or make a salad before I leave. Ugh.
Sunday- The hardest day yet. I don’t know how I managed to finish. By the time I was at .25, I stopped in the door and gasped, “Can you get the neb ready?” Some how, I finished. My leg ached and I iced it. I gasped through the neb. To be honest, I was tempted never to do it again. It seemed a waste and possibly dangerous to keep trying.
Monday- It looked like rain all day. I didn’t know how I’d walk if it was raining. At dinner time, it started. Thankfully, it quit. I expected to need the nebulizer, but I didn’t. I did it. Seven straight days of one mile per day.
You know, it’s not much. Not really. I’m used to so much more from me, but compared to the past two or three years, it’s huge– very huge. Now onto week two.