May 26th, 2006

quarter-mile dash

One of my goals for this year was to resume martial-arts training (and attend weekly), which I have not yet done. Mainly that's due to a lack of motivation, though it's reinforced by a lack of money to spend on classes. I continue to be generally healthy and thin, but still feel that I'm not actually physically fit, at least not anywhere as much as I ought to be. A couple of recent events have me wondering about that.

On the one hand, a couple weeks ago I had to catch a bus heading to the U District, for a business meeting (reviewing paper samples for business cards for work). I didn't leave my place quite as early as I should've, so when I got to the Fremont Bridge, the bus I was taking was just arriving at that intersection, and was going to get to the bus stop before I was. So I had to run a quarter of a mile, at the most in order to catch the bus. This left me out of breath, with shaky aching legs, and I had to make a real mental effort to keep running because I felt so tired so fast. A quarter of a mile! My 62-year-old mom runs marathons, and I can barely run a quarter-mile. A half-hour later, my legs still felt a bit shaky.

On the other hand, a few weeks before that, on a nice Saturday afternoon, I decided to go for a walk, and thought that it'd be interesting to walk around Lake Union and get a closer look of the neighborhoods and houseboats along it. So off I went, and ended up spending about four hours walking. I used Google Maps afterward to estimate the distance, and it seems to be about 9 miles. I was tired and footsore by the end, of course, but not wiped out.

Last Saturday, once again I decided I should go for a long walk, this time deciding to walk downtown to Vain to schedule a haircut; but I decided to walk over Queen Anne Hill, rather than around, so that I could check out some parts of the neighborhood I didn't know well. After stopping at Vain and then an ATM several blocks away, I paused for a brief snack at Pike Place Market. I'd brought change with me in case I wanted to take the bus home, but the snack picked me up and there were still parts of the west side of Queen Anne I wanted to see, so off I went. I walked up along the waterfront through the Myrtle Edwards and Elliott Bay Parks, then crossed to ascend Queen Anne through Kinnear Park, and went up 10th Avenue W to head home. I haven't tried to figure out the distance, but I spent a good five hours walking this time, with a lot more steep hill-climbing involved. By the time I got to the upper part of Kinnear Park, I was quite tired and really footsore, and it still took about another hour to get home from there. Nevertheless, even though I collapsed on the couch once I reached home, I didn't feel wiped out like I had after running the quarter-mile.

Now, taking a very long walk is rather different exercise than making a short fast sprint, so they're not easily comparable. Still, it's hard not to feel that I should be able to do both and not be wiped out and shaky by either. I suppose I could start jogging, though I've never really enjoyed that as an activity. I do enjoy cycling, but don't want to spend the money to get a bike. And as I mentioned at the beginning, I intended to get back into martial arts, but again money is a problem. I'll have to do something... but my impending operation lets me put this off at least a few weeks. It's a long weekend though, perhaps I'll go for a walk...