As Simple as a Walk in the Park

They're like winged crapping machines.
They're like winged crapping machines.

I am hot, sweaty and pretty happy. The first two because I just returned from walking and jogging a couple of miles, the last one due to the endorphins triggered by the first two.


It’s just after 1 p.m., and the temp is somewhere north of 95 degrees. I don’t like exercising in the afternoons and I cannot tolerate high heat and bright sunlight, but my morning gym plan was foiled because I again stayed up too late. I knew I didn’t want to be in the gym in the afternoon – don’t ask me why; just call it a “Leslie-ism” – but I needed to do something that I liked or I’d end up doing nothing at all.

So I drove to Shelley Lake, which is surrounded by a two-mile walking and biking path. I like it because it is lovely there, with beautiful butterflies, box turtles, herons, mallards and today, an unfortunate amount of apparently well-fed Canada geese, judging by the volume of droppings I had to dodge. Because of my sun sensitivity, I parked near the portion of the trail that’s  full sun and started there, going in the opposite direction than usual. My normal route has me ending with a long stretch in the sun, and that really wears me out. This way, I’d be in the sunny stretch at the start, when I’m most hydrated and energetic.

I mostly walked the 2.5 miles – the distance from the car to the trail and back adds an extra half-mile or so – but jogged in short stretches, as much as I could stand. I doubt I jogged more than one-quarter mile, total, but I liked the feeling of my pulse racing. Next time, I may just run as fast and as far as I can in short bursts. Should be interesting.

Most of the trail is shaded by old-growth trees, which makes it nice. This afternoon it was pretty quiet and peaceful, the heat no doubt keeping people away. Still there was a handful of very fit runners, bikers and some grandmothers pushing grandkids in strollers.

By the end, I’d consumed nearly all 26 ounces of water in my bottle, which is also good. My initial goal was to loop the lake twice, but only if I didn’t do any jogging. In that heat, walking and jogging five miles would have landed me in the same twilight zone I was in during the cancer walk.

All in all, a great way to kickoff my renewed weight-loss efforts. Now, where did I put those dumbbells . . .


 Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.   ~  Henry David Thoreau

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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.