The past couple of months, I've been walking consistently with the Long Beach Area Walking Club at Signal Hill every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. I started using my weighted backpack again, the first time with a 15 pound barbell plate. I've been doing this to slow me down and equalize my pace with the rest of the group because I was getting bored and lonely walking alone up front. The following week, I added an extra 5 pounds and that made a huge difference in the intensity of the walk. In short, the extra 5 pounds kicked my butt and I even got chicked on the way up Stanley St. hill by two ladies. Nobody has ever passed me going uphill, ever.
What do the weights do exactly other than slow me down? They help me resist the temptation to run so I don't injure myself, while still getting a workout intensity similar to running. As an added benefit, I can socialize with the other walkers by matching their pace.
So it got me thinking about getting one of those weighted vests again but every time I shop around for it, the cost deters me from getting one. You will not find a 20 pound weighted vest for less than $40, and that's money I can't spare while being jobless. One of the people I walk with, Paul, suggested sand and more particularly, wet sand which is very dense and heavy, instead of the barbell plates which I'm afraid might rip my backpack any day soon. I pondered this for a few weeks not knowing how much a bag of sand might cost at a building supplies store. I checked out the Home Depot website and it showed a 50 pound bag of all-purpose sand for $2.44. So a few days ago, I finally went to Home Depot and was surprised to see how many types of sand there was other than the all-purpose type. Well, I picked up the cheapest one even though it was more than I needed because it didn't come any smaller. I'm planning on replacing the weight plates with sand as soon as I can find a separate bag to divide it and to find a way to accurately measure 20 pounds, which I hope will fit in the backpack and adhere to its shape in contrast to the weight plates which bounce around while I'm walking.
Fearing that my backpack was about to rip due to the weight plates, I have been walking without it the past two weeks. I've been able to do some short jogs again (after injuring my left thigh trying to run full stride) and besides I found somebody with the walking group who could keep up with my pace. On the first day of March when rainstorms were hitting the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, I monitored the weather forecast and upon awakening that Saturday morning seeing no rain, I decided to show up at Signal Hill, not knowing who else was going to be there. The girl who was able to keep up with me wasn't there and I was relieved to see another walker who braved the weather. Well we lucked out because the rain, wind, and thunder didn't come till afternoon. The significant thing that happened on this walk was that I was able to jog uphill and downhill for 55 minutes non-stop, and that was the most I have done in the past several months, which was mostly on flat terrain. My initial plan was 30 minutes, but I kept adding 5 more minutes until I figured 55 minutes was enough. The rest of the way, I walked and jogged until I completed an hour and a half. At least I found a good excuse for running so slowly: going uphill, then using recovery as an excuse for running slowly downhill. Also I figured, if Obama and Biden can jog that slowly around the White House, I could do as well up and down hills.