Finding My Path

I have been living in this neighborhood for almost ten years now, and I have walked the streets the whole time, although I am walking a lot more these past several months. Behind the newest section is a park that has a retention pond. The county paved a walking path along one side of the pond to facilitate walkers, runners, and bicyclists. The runners cut a dirt path around the rest of the pond, and construction crews hard packed a lot of it, but it was not a designated walking path until recently. My ex-wife and I had walked our dog back there once or twice and it was hard-packed dirt with a lot of runoff ruts. About a month ago, I was walking along the established paved path when I noticed a lot of people on the other side of the pond, which made me wonder if it had been improved since the last time I walked back there. When I got to the parking lot, I noticed the path beyond the lot had a bed of pea gravel, so it had been improved, but not paved; at least not that section. The very next day, I saw caution signs for oil along the path. The county had repaved the established path and continued the paving all around the pond. This brings the walking path full circle, and may help my find the path to my personal goals.

        The new path along the shore of the pond

Now, every day, there are several people running, walking, and biking around the pond. I have even shifted my routine walk to include the new section of path which adds about 2000 more steps to my walk. It also gives me the opportunity to see the pond from different angles affording many splendid photo opportunities. In all the years I have been in this neighborhood, I have never seen so many people using the walking trail until now. There are even paved areas which look like perfect places for benches, if the county decides to do that, which I think they should. It would be even better if they put in a water fountain with a doggie fountain as well as a poop station. The new pavement is becoming littered with canine landmines lately.

Every evening the path is being used by several people. I have noticed that, like me, most people are waiting until after 7 before heading out to exercise, since that is about as cool as it is likely to get until the wee hours of the morning. With all the activity, the indigenous animals, rabbits, ducks, geese, and bullfrogs are becoming accustomed to people and venturing out onto the path as well. There are a couple of geese that looked right at me as I walked toward them and they refused to move until I almost stepped on one of them. The ducks long ran off. The rabbits did, too. Last night, one young bunny was sitting in the short grass along the path as a little girl of about 4 or 5 on a bike with training wheels rode up. It ran off before she noticed it. Her daddy told her about it but she didn’t believe him.

“Nu-huh, daddy. There’s no rabbit,” she said.

“No, really it was right there.”

“Uh-uh.”

“Uh-huh.”

“What color was it?”

“Brown.”

“Brown and black?”

“Nope. Just brown.”

“Nuh-uh.”

I had to back up the daddy so the little girl would believe him.

Last night’s walk came after about an hour of swimming, where my oldest son out-swam me significantly. This was after yesterday morning’s bike ride, where I rode for about 6 or 7 miles (I think). I need to repair the bike computer so I can track my speed and distance. This ride was much more productive that the last two. I had to buy new bike shorts and gloves and handlebar tape to make the bike more comfortable. I also rode in the morning, when I am better physically prepared for a bike ride. I’ll probably be riding at nights most days, when I get home from work. I follow the park path around all three loops as well as most of the roads in the neighborhood, which is length of about 6 or 7 miles.

My pants are getting looser around the waist and in the thigh, but my weight is not going down appreciably. This could mean I am converting fat to muscle, which is a good thing, to be sure, but I want the weight off! Been doing this for three months now and I want results. I do recognize that I need to step up my game a bit to continue my progress. I no longer end every walk winded and sore like I did at the onset. But also, I am not looking to increase muscle mass, so working out until I hit muscle failure is not the goal. I just want to trim down. From my research, the best way to do that is walking longer, so I will be adding more steps to my walks. I also need to decrease my caloric intake. I have done this, but I do need to restrict juices and sweetened drinks, which is quite difficult. I love my Crangrape and orange juice. And I have been a Dr. Pepper addict since the 70’s, when I became a Pepper (wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?) at the admonition of David Naughton. But I have to confess, most of my weight loss successes over the years have come when I stopped drinking sodas cold turkey. Sigh.

So, I know what I have to do, I know how to do it, and now I have the path laid out before me. All I have to do is walk the path I’ve chosen.

Check here for more updates.

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