A weekend of walks

This weekend, Hurricane Earl huffed, and puffed – and decided he didn’t feel like vacationing in the Cape and Islands. Thus, after a rainstorm of normal heaviness on Friday, the Greater Boston area was blessed with an absolutely gorgeous weekend.

So, back about two years ago, I wanted to start increasing my daily walking as my exercise, rather than working out. My adherence to this principle was pretty spotty, up until this summer, when the location of my fellowship placement allowed me to walk to and from work every day. As noted yesterday, a similar location is one of the awesome things about my job, so I get to keep up the regular walking for the foreseeable future. But this weekend I got an extra walking bonus, as two friends accompanied me on long-awaited wanders.

For many years since I have lived in Boston, I’ve been an admirer of the Southwest Corridor Park. You can read a bit about the park’s origins here; suffice it to say that any park that results from a successful community battle against a highway is a must-see in my book. I’ve been on portions of the Southwest Corridor, but I have wanted for ages to walk the whole 4-1/2 miles. Finally, I was inspired by the unexpected good weather yesterday, and found a ready companion for a spur-of-the-moment excursion.

One of the reasons I hadn’t walked the corridor before is that I was afraid I would tire out before the end. Four-plus miles seemed daunting, and it just wouldn’t be the same to do it in bits and pieces. But Saturday my friend and I set out to go as far as we felt comfortable; it turned out to be a nice and easy stroll over a couple of hours, with just two brief breaks in the second half of the journey for rest and water. The park is fun and gorgeous, dotted with community gardens, athletic fields and playgrounds all along the way. Some of the Orange Line stations also have beautiful entrances facing the park; I think Ruggles Station was my favorite.

I was tired after a few hours in the sun, and slept well when I got home. Today, I woke up rested and ready for walk #2, a shorter stroll through the Wellington-Harrington and East Cambridge neighborhoods. With pup in tow (or more often, doing the towing!) a second friend and I spent a good hour catching up and gossiping along the streets of Cambridge, glorying in another sunny day and perfect temperatures. Both of us are more sedentary by nature; my top pastimes are reading books, watching TV and movies, and playing board games, and it’s not until you get to bowling or salsa dancing that I get off the couch to entertain myself. But we decided that social walking is a good, natural and fun way to keep our activity levels high and our lives up-to-date. We walked a little over 2 miles, I think, and it was a lovely start to the day.

I feel pretty happy with myself this weekend. I know that weight and clothing size can be useful health indicators, but they’re not the only ones, and I feel like these last two days were symbolic of the way I want to keep track of my health going forward. For me, it is more about making sure that the way I eat, the way I sleep, and other aspects of taking care of myself don’t prohibit me from doing the things that I want to do. As long as I can take myself on a good long walk at a moment’s notice, I figure things for my body are going reasonably well.

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