Jul 062009
Image by Ken Lund

Image by Ken Lund

Over the last few months I’ve been taking part in the Weight Watchers® Walk-!t Challenge.  The program is a partnership between Weight Watchers and Active.com that encouraged Weight Watchers members to sign up for and complete a 5K walk for charity.  As part of the program Weight Watchers provided trainers to those who signed up for the challenge to help prepare them for the 5k.  I’ve never taken part in any kind of event like this before, so while I already walk considerably more than 5k on a daily basis I thought it was a great opportunity to get some more exercise in to my routine and I signed up.

I got an email this morning from my trainer that got me thinking.  Amusingly enough it wasn’t part of the email itself but her signature that sent the wheels in my head spinning.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.

– Elen DeGeneres

It’s an amusing joke, I suppose, but what really got to me was the sudden realization of how far you can get in life by simply making consistent daily commitments towards reaching your goal.  When I started my weight loss journey eight years ago all I did, initially, was walk for fifteen minutes a day.  It was all I COULD do!  At 420 pounds your exercise options are pretty limited.  As time went on I was able to add time and distance to my daily walks and eventually other exercises as well.  Today my workout routine consists of elliptical machines, treadmills, weight lifting, and exergames.  I didn’t get where I am quickly or easily, but by consistently doing a little every day I’ve managed to cross great distances.

Which leads me back to the quote I referenced above.  After I read that I went and did a little research and discovered that, according to Google Maps, there are 3,357 miles between Miami, Florida and Seattle, Washington (by car).  That’s a pretty daunting distance to be sure.  If you drove straight through it would take you just over 2 days, and I think it’s fairly safe to say that none of us would ever seriously consider walking it.

But you could.

If you had the time and resources available it really wouldn’t even be that difficult – just time consuming.

There are very few people reading this who could not walk five miles a day.  At first it might take you a full day to do so as you stopped to rest every half mile or so, but you could probably do it.  In time, as your strength and stamina built up, you’d be able to walk five miles at a time without stopping.  You may even get to a point when you could walk ten miles or more in a day so that you could take a break on occasion.  If you persisted towards your goal of reaching Seattle and continuously averaged five miles a day you would arrive in just over 671 days.  You could walk across America in less than two years, and all it would take is the commitment to get there by walking five miles a day.

If you are willing to commit to a goal and commit to taking steps every day to reach it nothing is out of your reach.

Not even walking to Seattle.

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  6 Responses to “Walking to Seattle”

  1. I recall someone (I think it was Elizabeth Bear) who was including a line item on her blog when she got back into walking, and then running, measuring her progress in terms of Lord of the Rings. Beginning at The Shire, she’d append stuff like “At the Painted Pony” or “Halfway to Weathertop” along with her total mileage.

    I don’t remember how the figures were arrived at, but there are so many fictitious quests you could do this for, it’s certainly one way to keep things interesting.

  2. My thighs get chaffed just thinking about walking that far. Owie!

  3. Anyone got the mileage conversion for Kalimdor? Heh.

  4. Anyone remember that sci fi novel about walking. Basically, it was a lottery. The winner of this “walk” won something big. All losers were killed. Leme see if I can find it:

    Found it: “The Long Walk”, Stephen King . . . whole new reason for walking!

    • Yeah, written as one of The Bachman Books; also in that four-novella collection is The Running Man, which is *quite* different than the movie.

      Those two, and “Rage” are some of my favorite pieces his work. “Roadwork,” the fourth is… well, not so much.

  5. […] with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The journey of a thousand miles (or the walk to Mordor Seattle) begins with a single […]

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