This realization and my inability to sprint from the front of Cordova Elementary School to the back recently without gasping for breath have made me want to drop a few extra pounds.
I’ll need all the motivation I can get as I start a weight loss journey while simultaneously working on a food series for Lifestyles.
Thankfully, the bar is set pretty low.
I eat too much junk and don’t exercise at all. A little bit of improvement in either of these areas will be better than my current situation.
As much as it pains me to lay off sweets, finding time to exercise is even more difficult.
Whenever I decided on a schedule before, I stuck to it for a day or two before life intervened, causing me to postpone my daily walks and eventually give up on them completely.
In this respect, I am nothing like my mother, who has walked at the Cordova High School track five mornings a week for more than 20 years.
Mama started her walks the year that I went to kindergarten. At that time, she was one of several young mothers who met at the track after dropping their little darlings off at school.
That group didn’t stay intact for long. As months and then years passed, the other women stopped coming until eventually my mother was the only one left.
A colorful group of senior citizens became her new walking partners. I heard so many stories about them while I was growing up that it almost felt like they were an extended part of our family.
Now almost all of them have either passed away or are unable to walk anymore because of health problems.
I started walking with Mama the summer after my junior year of high school and held out until some point in my college career.
She likes to say that she dragged me around the track. I have no problem admitting that despite the 20 year difference in our ages, she kicked my butt then and could still do so today.
Not only has my mother built up some serious speed over all these years of walking, she also has stamina.
She walked a couple of miles before I could drag myself out of bed that first summer and tacked on at least three or four more miles after I got to the track.
Then she’d veer off and tackle the hill that runs from the high school to the elementary school.
It felt like a miracle every time that I made it to the top, but somehow she usually convinced me to do “the long way” back to the track, which meant going all the way down to the VFW instead of coming around behind the field house.
Needless to say, I was in the best shape of my life while I was walking with my mother. I also cherish the conversations we had together (when I wasn’t complaining, that is).
Mama has often been asked how much weight she has lost from walking for so long. Numbers on a scale have nothing to do with why she has logged tens of thousands of miles in all kinds of weather conditions.
Mama walks because it makes her feel good.
I have often heard her say that she could get more done at home if she stopped going to the track. However, she refuses to give up the only time that she has ever set aside for herself.
Only recently has it dawned on me how amazing it is that Mama has kept up a walking routine for two decades.
So much has changed in that time.
Both of her children have graduated from high school and college. I moved out and started a family of my own.
The old high school closed, another was built on the fields where my brother played baseball and the track where she began her journey was plowed under to make way for two new baseball diamonds.
One of the few constants in my life is that I will always love my mother. Another is that I know where to find her every morning between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.