A Hearty High-Five for Volkssport Walking

Sometimes we walk alone…

Selfie at the Volkswalk

Selfie at the Volkswalk

And that’s what I did this weekend. While hubs was winging his way to sunny Florida, I was invited to participate in an AVA sponsored 10k walk. The sun was bright and it was a balmy 45 degrees so I joined a group of 100+ hearty souls for the Pre-Super Bowl Walk sponsored by the Columbia River Volkssport walking club. This walk was very easy and rated 1A. There is a rating system that goes all the way to 5. This event was well organized, the volunteers were friendly and helpful.  I wasn’t looking for credit stamps so I walked for free.  I haven’t investigated how the whole IVV/AVA system works yet, but there are clubs and walks all over the the world.  Members have books and get stamped for each walk they compete.  I think it’s $3.00 if you are going for stamps and I’m here to tell you that there was lots of stamping going on. Most people came with a walking buddy or two, but there were lots of single walkers too. It was an easy-going, friendly group. The average age was somewhere mid-50’s.  Lots of gray hair, but these folks were fit and energetic and many well into their 70’s were passing me on the street.

I’ve been thinking about doing one of these walks for a long time and I am so glad I finally found one that fit my schedule.  Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. doesn’t work if you are still chained to the office.   I wonder how long it will take after I finally retire to not think I have to cram all my fun activities into the weekend.

Hubs doesn’t know it yet, but I’ve already signed us up for another Volkswalk.  This one is on February 15.  It’s called The Heartbreaker Walk. And the route is sure to get the old heart muscle pumping.  It’s 11km and rated a 3C – for the hills and stairs.

I also picked up a flyer for the Columbia River Gorge Biennial Classic – 13 walks and 1 bike – June 19-22, 2014.  Walks range from 5km to 25km, rated 1A to 4C (straight up?).  What a great way to enjoy a weekend in the beauty of the gorge.  In addition to all of the walking, this is also a social weekend with picnics, potlucks, a buffet dinner and a cruise on the Sternwheeler.  And, it’s hub’s birthday weekend. Happy Birthday, honey! bg-splash

Sound interesting?  Click here to find out more about the IVV (International Volkssport) and the AVA (American Volkssport) associations, their walks and all of the other non-competitive events they sponsor worldwide.

Then lace up your shoes and get going.  If you want to walk in the Portland area and need a walking buddy, call me.

See you on the road (or the trail),

Nancy

Fitness ~ Setting a Really Big Goal!

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I have traveled all over the fitness map.  Sometimes there’s a plan.  Other days, not so much.  But, I have learned from experience that setting a long term goal that is a real stretch (pun intended) is often the motivation I need to keep up my exercise or walking practice.  It works for me.  Every time.

HonoluluMarathon

That’s me #12168 with the white visor coming into the finish lanes.

Way back when I was a young 49 year old mostly-couch-potato, I read an article about Team in Training and marathon walking.  Intrigued, I explored this opportunity to train with a group and walk or run in marathons all over the world while raising money for a great cause.  Sometimes I tend to jump without worrying about the details like “How far is 26.2 miles anyway”?  In I jumped!  I set a goal to walk the Honolulu Marathon for my 50th birthday.  I was committed.  I walked every day starting with two miles that first week and ending my last training walk with a 22 miler from my front door in Lake Oswego to my sister’s house in Hillsboro, Oregon.  Two weeks later, I was on a plane ready to take on the full 26.2 in Honolulu.   And I did it.  And I never walked another marathon again.

But I did keep on walking.   Usually by myself.  Until recently, this was the typical evening conversation at our house.  Me:  “Honey, want to go for a walk with me?”  Hubby:  “Umm, No thanks.”

But that all changed exactly one year ago when I began hatching my plan to do something memorable for my 65th birthday at the end of August.  I wanted to walk the last 65 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James) in Spain.  I discovered a walking tour company, Marly Tours, who provide support for those of use who do not want the full Pilgrim experience (carrying everything on your back, sleeping on the ground and/or sleeping in hostels with 300 others in bunk beds).  I was so excited about this idea that my enthusiasm spilled over onto my husband.  Suddenly, he wanted to join me on walks.  Perfect!  Last Fall, we began planning our weekends around walking or hiking.  We have explored most of the City of Portland Oregon on foot and we’ve recently branched out to local hikes like the The Ten Falls Hike.   We’re up to 8 to 10 miles on Saturday and then another 6 or 8 on Sunday.  Always with a stop for lunch.  We call it jogging for doughnuts.

Not too bad for a couple of almost senior citizens.  On the Camino, we’ll be walking our 100km over 5 days.  We don’t know the terrain, but I’m told to expect everything from country lanes to farmers fields to hill climbs to city streets.   We walk 13 miles the first day!  Then we get up and do it again the next day, whether we’re ready or not.  Whether we’re tired or not.  Whether our feet hurt or not.

I can’t wait to get started!

Setting this long term and very large goal, has changed our lives.  We walk every day.  Hubs joined the gym.  We walk for entertainment.  We enjoy our time together.  We’re active people again and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.   In fact, we’re already thinking about walking through England or Italy next.

See you on the trail!

Nancy

 

Portland City Walks ~ Walk There!

walktherebookuse Last year I bought a pocket sized book titled Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver.  Best book I ever bought – and not just because it was essentially free as we made the purchase with credits from selling previously enjoyed books back to the fine people at Powells Books.

Walking has now become one of our favorite weekend activities and with this trusty little book in hand we have seen more interesting places in and around Portland, discovered new shops, and hidden gem eating establishments than we ever thought possible when we set out on our first walking adventure early last September.   It was a gorgeous Fall day and we decided to start with the “Hillsdale to the River” walk on Page 181.  Distance 4 miles.  Level of difficulty – 5 bars (out of 5!)   Our trek began in the parking lot Wilson High School in Southwest Portland and wound slightly downhill on lovely neighborhood streets, through the woods, over bridges, and under tunnels all leading down to the river.

And then you walk back up, and up, and up.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Along the Willamette River

Along the Willamette River

According to our trusty guide book “This hilly walk in Portland’s Southwest Hills combines several city staircases, forest paths and a river walk with great views and significant elevation gain.  Somehow, when I selected this walk, I must have glazed over the “significant elevation gain”.

Just one of the many staircases on the walk back up the hill.

Just one of the many staircases on the walk back up the hill.

Portland is a very walkable city.  A comfortable pair of walking shoes, some sunscreen, a bottle of water, a few bucks in your pocket and the handy little (it fits right in hubby’s back pocket) Walk There! book, and you are ready to go.

Need more reasons to get out there?  Here are a few straight from the book:

1.  Walking is good for your wallet!  We couldn’t agree more.  It is cheap entertainment.

2.  Walking is one of the safest activities you can do.  It’s good for your bones, good for your heart and really good for your spirit.  This we know for sure.

3.  Walking is good for the environment.  Any time you leave the car in the garage, it’s good for the environment.

What are you waiting for?

See you on the trail!

Nancy

 

 

 

Just a Couple of Crazy Kids ~ another on foot adventure

Since we are now fully committed to the Camino de Santiago trek next September, the hubs and I have upped our walking game significantly.  Every weekend we’re out exploring the city streets and country roads in and around Portland.  It is amazing what you miss when you are whizzing along at 55 mph.  Of course, the beautiful Fall weather hasn’t hurt.  I don’t know how motivated we’ll be when it’s cold, gray and soggy, but we’ll cross that bridge (on foot) when we come to it.

I’m in charge of mapping our routes and coming up with interesting locations and access to restrooms and good food along the way.  So far, so good.  Last week a friend of mine who is always off on one adventure or another, mentioned she had gone to the Portlandia Corn Maize out on Sauvie Island.  When I asked how much actual walking was involved, she indicated it could be A LOT depending on how many dead ends you took in the maize.

Well, thanks to Lois, I thought this would be a great way to try something new and get our walk on at the same time.  What a hoot!  Yes, it is mostly for families with kids and somehow that brought out the kid in us too.   We walked, we laughed, and we got lost over and over again.  But, we enjoyed the fresh air, acres of corn stocks at least ten feet tall, answered silly questions that helped us find our way through the maize, and of course, I sang a chorus or two of “I’m as Corny as Kansas in August”.

Honey, I think we’ve been down this row before.

And, the best part…because we aren’t kids (only kids at heart), we finished the afternoon with a couple of adult beverages on the dock and watched the boats go by.