I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a year to join Andy on the walk that he discovered the summer of 2011 as he was searching for ways to lose weight and eliminate his Type 2 Diabetes.
Knowing that Andy enjoyed the solitude of his walk, I never tried to invite myself along, merely enjoying the aftereffects of the endorphins when he walked in the door. But, after complaining about my sluggish energy level and feeling like my metabolism had slowed down, he invited me to go for a late winter, early morning walk.
I was thrilled—and a little worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
It started snowing as we walked out the door. My toes were soon numb, but we were off, so why think about it? Just put one foot in front of the other I kept reminding myself.
Through the snow falling on my eyelashes, I began to admire the beauty and perfection of Andy’s walking route. It wasn’t easy—this wasn’t a neighborhood stroll, mind you—this walk was designed to help you lose weight, build muscle, and get your blood flowing. There were uphills. There were downhills. And just enough flats to keep your lungs from bursting.
Pretty soon I realized that my walking shoes were rubbing a hole through at least one heel, if not both. Clearly I hadn’t gone walking for a while.
Andy saved the hardest part of his walk for the very end. A three-tenths of a mile uphill climb may not sound like much, but after walking 2+ miles up hills and down at 4.5 miles per hour, my feet were not enthusiastic at the prospect.
At the top of the hill, my childhood asthma decided to make an appearance, but by that point I felt the joy of success. Not only had I kept up—I hadn’t slowed Andy down at all. In fact, this may have been his fastest walk in quite some time.
My admiration for my husband grew three sizes that day. This was not a walk for sissies. This walk demanded tenacity, determination, and grit. He walked twice a day through sore muscles and blisters. Through 5 AM wake up calls that always came a little too soon. It required sacrifice and dedication. And he did it. At least twice a day as the weather permitted—7 days a week.