Last year, one of my goals was to go on hikes with my kids. I thought I’d be able to do it by the time I was six months post-op from ankle reconstruction surgery, but I didn’t meet my goal. However, in the mid-fall, I started walking for exercise on flat, paved ground. At first, I was able to do a couple of miles and my pace was terrible. As the weeks passed, my stamina and speed increased. In January, I walked for five miles. And while I haven’t done another five miles since then, I have continued to walk about four miles whenever the weather permits.
Yesterday, I achieved my fastest mile, 17:36 min/mi, since the surgery. (I credit the wind at my back!) So, despite the cold and the wind, I told my husband that I wanted to finally go on a light hike with the kids today. Initially, I picked a park that was 40 minutes from our house, which Marc thought was a bit much considering the cold.
“What about the Enola Low Grade Trail?” I asked him.
He hadn’t heard of it so I filled him in. “It’s on the Susquehanna River near Columbia. Plus, there’s a caboose there.”
Ari LOVES trains so the caboose felt like a good sell on this cold March morning.
We didn’t rally the kids to leave the house until a little after 10. By the time we got to the Enola Low Grade Trail, it was nearly 11 since we made a restroom stop because I avoid porta-potties at all costs!
But then, it was a lot of river, a lot of rocks, and not much else. To my surprise, Isabelle was excited to walk beside me and kept pace nicely. By the time we were a half-mile into the trail, Ari was lagging behind with Marc. Isabelle and I took off power walking downtown the trail. Eventually, my phone buzzed.
“He’s complaining about all of the walking so we’re sitting on some benches,” Marc told me.
“Okay. We’re almost at the one-mile marker. As soon as we get there, we’ll turn around and head back to you.”
Once Isabelle and I headed back, we heard voices. Seconds later, we saw Ari running towards us.
“I wanna walk to one mile!” Ari told us.
It was probably two-tenths of a mile more for Ari to reach the one-mile marker so the three of us had to convince him to turn back.
Ari continued to walk slowly on the way back to the caboose. I tried a few races between the kids, “There’s the half-mile marker. Let’s see who can reach it first!” and “There’s the signal house. Who will be the first one there?” These things moved Ari forward, but it was slow-going back to the car. At one point, Marc carried him until I told him to “Make sure Ari’s train has oil, give him a boiler treatment, and keep moving.” (Yes, I’ve been faced with Ari not walking quickly around our neighborhood before. These things have worked for me since I’m not in the shape to carry a four-year-old child in my arms.)
Despite the kvetching from Ari, we’re going to keep doing family walks. Perhaps we need to bring a stroller for the way back next time so we don’t have to cut our walk short. Or snacks. Or maybe a stroller and snacks!