Destination in mind

Written by on July 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Walking without a destination in mind can be challenging — or it can be a great incentive to find somewhere to go.

I'll admit, doing something like the Challenge Walk is out of character for me. I'm a destination walker: I walk to get to where I'm going. Even though I like the idea of going out for a stroll for fun or exercise, it's darn hard for me to get off my rear unless there's a real end to my journey — the grocery store, my job, Starbucks… So I knew I was going to have to think of something creative to get myself training for this walk.

I found an easy way to do a little more training right off the bat. I work about a mile away from where I live, and walk there every day. With the help of Google Maps' walking directions, I found a way to make my usual route about a half a mile longer. As an added plus, it's a lot more scenic — instead of walking past a mile of apartment buildings and busy intersections, I take my time and loop around a nearby park area, complete with a walking path and a pond filled with excitable geese. My destination remains the same, but I can take an extra ten minutes to see a prettier part of town and get my feet used to walking greater distances. In another month or so, I hope to reevaluate my route and change it to make the trek even longer.

Chill frozen yogurt

Tart frozen yogurt can be a powerful motivator!

Of course, an extra half-mile per day is helpful, but I won't be ready for 30 miles unless I start doing some distance, too! My solution for my motivation problem is basically shameless self-bribery. If I'm feeling hungry for frozen yogurt, I can "earn" it by walking a huge loop around the neighborhood that ends at my favorite frozen yogurt shop. What's more, I can find interesting-sounding coffee shops or ice cream stores that are reasonably far away from me as destinations, using training time to get better acquainted with my neighborhood. Somehow, the walk home always seems shorter with something cold and delicious in hand!

I'm hoping to slowly break out of my tendency to be a destination walker, or at least better remember that not all destinations are physical locations. The Challenge Walk's destination is may physically be Cape Cod, but it's actually a world without MS, and I hope to walk all the way there — though I might show up with a frappe in hand.

Kahmmie was a first-year walker in 2010 and had just started to get involved with the MS community, with the inspiration of her then significant other, Ken, this site's webmaster. She lived in the Boston area and attended graduate school full-time.

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