Best Time of Year to Get Your Sweat On in the Parks

Me, in a bike helmet. (Hanna-Barbera)

I overslept.

Actually, I failed to set my alarm. That almost never happens. Blame it on all the season finales I just had to watch last night: Lie to Me, The Closer and Rizzoli and Isles. I actually had to DVR The Closer because it came on at the same time as Lie to Me. Then I watched it after Rizzoli, fast-forwarding through the commercials, of course.

It was still almost midnight when I went to bed. Boot camp starts at 6 a.m., and I thought I’d set my alarm for 5:15. I only awakened around 7 a.m. because I heard Bobby getting ready for work.

I called, but Kate the trainer has already left for the day. Last Tuesday, there was just one other person with me. Thursday, it was just me. I checked the sign-up sheet when I went to the gym Sunday. There were no new names. Kate had promised she’d work something out with me, maybe just a half hour, and that’s fine. I’ll take what I can get.


After a long debate with myself – during which I came up with multiple excuses why I didn’t have the time/energy to exercise – I dressed in the workout clothes I’d laid out the night before, ate a handful of raisins (for energy) and my water bottle, and drove the short distance to Anderson Point Park. It’s a city park located barely a mile from my house. I rarely go because it’s . . .  boring. I’d rather drive the 10 miles or so to be among the ducks and herons while walking at Shelley Lake.

At least, that’s what I thought before I got there. Clearly, the city has been busy. The park is now even more heavily landscaped, and the walk/bike trail had been moved in places. There’s little natural shade, but the protected areas were nice and overgrown, filled with birds and butterflies and probably a wide assortment of critters.

I walked the loop once, then jogged off and on the second time around. Again, I’m not getting very far before wheezing, but it feels good to do something. There were only a handful of people at the park – a family at the playground (which always looks inviting), a couple eating breakfast in one of the picnic shelters and a young woman relaxing on one of the wooden swings under a massive oak. Still, I made sure I no one observed my pathetic jogging attempts.

The temps are once again in the 90s, but while at the park this morning, I doubt it was yet 80 degrees.  Just a beautiful morning for working up a nice, stinky sweat. I imagined myself zipping along the trails on my bike, and this weekend I’m going to make sure whatever’s wrong with it gets fixed.


I’m sure I will look ridiculous on that bike, but I don’t care. It’s all about getting the pounds off, and you know what they say about “pride goeth” and all that. There’s a helmet law here in N.C., but I can’t see myself wearing one. Probably end up looking like The Great Gazoo from The Flintstones. (Memba him?)

Like I said at the start of this month, I LOVE this time of year, love the ’Bers. I think it’s perfect for the heaviest of us because it’s not too hot, not too cold for walking in your local parks.


Or jogging, if you’re not as self-conscious as I am. :-D

Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.  ~  George Washington Carver


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

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