Day 65

It used to take me just under an hour to walk from my front door to the park, around the lake, and back home. Maybe I was meandering, but I sure wasn’t stopping to pet other people’s dogs or to feed those damn geese.

So I was delighted when today I went twice around the lake plus up and down an extra side street in the same time — just under an hour.  I was alone, so I wasn’t pacing myself to anyone else. It wasn’t cold or raining, I wasn’t in a hurry, and I haven’t even opened that pedometer yet.

I have to assume that the simple habit of walking has improved my efficiency and therefore my speed.  Malcolm Gladwell writes in his new book, OUTLIERS, that it takes 10,000 hours engaged in an activity to become an expert at it. Could it be that I hit the 10,000 hour mark for walking in my lifetime? Could it be that focusing on heel-to-toe, stand-up-straight and swing-your-arms finally made a difference?

We’re not supposed to compare ourselves to others — it’s unhealthy, it sets up a competitive dynamic between ourselves and others, blah blah blah. All true.  We all know it.

But find me a woman who doesn’t size herself up against others: thinner or heavier, younger or older, nicer house, more money…and you’ll have found yourself a freak of nature more evolved woman than I. Of course we know intellectually that being thinner, richer,  faster doesn’t make you happier. Even being the best golfer in the world doesn’t ensure satisfaction and happiness (just ask Tiger Woods!).

When I walk with friends I make a conscious effort to pace myself to the other person, so that I’m not pressing them to walk too fast or too slow. It’s not fun to walk competitively with a friend, at least not for me. But I am pleased to be walking faster than I used to walk, and I’d like to think that the improved time reflects some kind of organic evolution for me as a walker. Cumulative hours adding up to naturally occurring improvements. I’m thinking maybe it is those 10,000 hours.

But there’s one thing wrong with Gladwell’s theory…I am absolutely certain that I’ve been on a diet more than 10,000 hours in my life, but as far as I can tell I’m still a novice!