Saturday, October 20, 2018

Heart Walk 2018, Done; Bring on 2019!

A little resurgence of warm and humid weather seeped into the 25th annual Waccamaw Heart & Stroke Walk today adding extra challenge met by the roughly 1,000 walkers. It was the same course at the North Myrtle Beach sports complex that was used for the 2017 Walk so I knew it well. This marked the 10th straight year since moving to this area that wife Allyne and I have participated in this community-spirited and joyous event for benefit of the important work in research and prevention done by the American Heart Association. (Allyne, a stroke survivor, helps run the Survivors' info tent while I  walk the Walk.)

Unfortunately, my spinal stenosis, which I have been battling the past 15 years, is becoming a steadily bigger obstacle for me to overcome. So for this walk, I decided not to accept the invitation to be one of the survivors up front at the start of the walk. I knew from experience that being there inclines you to stepping up your pace to unsustainable lengths trying to keep up with all the young folks doing the walk. Instead, I tried my best to be the very last person walking the course. I succeeded so well that at one point I (all alone by then) could see the frontrunners across the lake, and I thought to myself how cool it would be if I swam across to catch up with them, thereby cutting the course in half. I restrained myself though; didn't want to become the first drowning victim at a Heart Walk.

Me and Walking Stick in 2018 Heart Walk
Anyway, I did survive the Survivors' course, which my reliable Garmin tracker tells me was actually six-tenths of a mile longer than advertised. It sure felt like it. The walk made me realize how much more taxing it is to walk solo as opposed to walking a senior dawg that stops to sniff about every third blade of grass.

Alas, a race organizer snapped a photo of me and my walking stick toughing it out. And seeing my mid-section bulk I am reminded of something I could do without surgery to ease the spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar region). And that is shed some of that belly fat that has accumulated over the years, thereby lessening pressure on the back. This, of course, is easier said than done here in The Land of a Thousand Buffets.

Anyway I did stay the course, and I will celebrate that. This has been the one community event that I look forward to more than any other each and every year. So, with the 2018 Heart & Stroke Walk in the books, I am making my training plans now for the 2019 Walk.

                                             © Robert Gray Holland  (2018)

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