Thanks to my new blue iPod Shuffle I am getting stronger and more fit. I bought it a few months ago (I’m obviously not an early adopter) and around the same time began walking more often on the indoor track at the Y. For years two miles has been my longest distance. My ankle hurt, my heel bothered me, I felt the occasional knee pain, all of which told me that I shouldn’t cover more than two miles. But that was before I started walking with music.
One day I decided to try three miles. I found my speed picking up, even as I was adding distance. Walking to a beat other than the rhythmic sound of basketballs bouncing on the gym floor below made this easy. Soon I was passing everyone on the track, including a woman who had been passing me for months. After I had been walking three miles for a few weeks, my husband announced that he had increased his distance on the treadmill to four miles. I could tolerate his moving ahead of me for only a few days. I increased my distance to four miles last week, while continuing to be the whirlwind on the track.
Recently I passed a woman, probably in her sixties, who was walking briskly. She looked at me as I sped by and said, “You’re walking faster than me!” as if she couldn’t quite believe it. “I have a goal,” I said, thinking I needed to say something to make her feel better. “What is it?” she asked. “To walk four miles in less than an hour.” A little later she ran to catch up with me. “What kind of music are you listening to?” “Mostly rock n’ roll and hot jazz. They keep me from slowing down,” I said. She nodded as if she suspected as much, that this was what was propelling me forward. “I have some of that at home. Next time I’ll bring my music.” I felt a little like I was in a Clint Eastwood western where the gunslinger says, “Next time I see you I’ll be ready.” However, I’m not really worried. In fact I feel good about the whole episode. Not only was I able to improve my pace and distance (and keep up with my husband), but thanks to my iPod Shuffle I have apparently challenged someone else. Meanwhile I have started looking over my shoulder.