Since I hardly run any more, I searched for local walking clubs on the internet last week. I found one in the Meet Up website and there happened to be a scheduled walk at Signal Hill for last Saturday morning (April 2nd). That was two days after I did a run/walk in the heat on Thursday. I figured it should still be slightly warm on Saturday even though rain was forecasted later that day.
I signed up with the Meet Up group and met with three other people plus a dog at the base of Hill Street. Even though I’ve been hill walking on the treadmill in recent weeks, I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit apprehensive about being able to keep up with other more experienced walkers on those steep hills. I even considered taking my walking poles along. I haven’t been up in those hills in at least a couple of years but I’m still very familiar with which the toughest climbs are. What I was unfamiliar with was the route the group followed, so I just tagged along. Soon enough we hit the 13 percent grade of Stanley Street hill. Surprisingly, despite its steepness, walking up it only felt like doing a tempo run on a flat terrain. I must still have some aerobic capacity left from running!
There were a whole bunch of people and pets all over those hills walking, running, cycling, or just plain seeing the sights from atop, and we blended in the mix rather quickly. So we walked up and down the winding streets and mini trails of Signal Hill and I actually saw a couple of people I used to run with: Rick who runs half marathons, and Hwaja, who runs marathons and ultras. I knew I was going to bump into someone I knew sooner or later. There was one thing I never noticed before when I was still able to run those hills: dog water fountains. If one of our companions with the dog didn’t have the dog drink from one of the fountains, I wouldn’t have known it existed. It was just a regular fountain attached underneath the one for humans. The walk lasted a little more than six miles but I didn’t feel like I got enough workout for the day, so as we were finishing, I told the others that I was going up Hill Street again. I turned left on top and kept going until I reached the base of Stanley Street. All of a sudden I was running up the 13% incline until I reached the apex! I walked down Skyline Drive then turned around and started running uphill again until I reached the top, upon whence I commenced walking until I finished over 8 miles. All in all, with the extra mileage by myself, it turned out to be a somewhat satisfying workout. I probably wouldn’t have walked that far alone. Every time I’m able to accomplish something like that, it makes me think that I may be able to finish a walking half marathon in the near future. Can I do 5 more miles without compromising my bad ankles?
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