Lesson three our final effort. Today we're going to try to racewalk for 10 minutes at a time.
We start jogging, and then we start racewalking. There is a large gap between two and 10 minutes and I am aware of every second. My quads strain. My inner thighs pull. My shins burn. I lean forward. I pump my arms. And then I am racewalking. Just like that.
It's only been three lessons, but something clicked. I can't help but have some affection for the only sport that would have me. Of course, my longer, slower walks still have their place in my heart a treat at the end of a hectic week, a time to figure out what I'm doing with my life.
But in racewalking, I found a workout that meets my requirements: It engages my mind, kicks my butt, and works all the right spots. I haven't done it in daylight yet. But give me a little time (and a pair of dark glasses) and I'll be out there.
Some tips from other new racewalkers
"I've lost weight. I'm in better shape now than ever before. I have better muscle tone ... Racewalking gives me energy that I never tapped into before. Helps with mental balance and clarity ... I love having something I can call 'my sport.' It's an absolutely wonderful exercise that can be enjoyed at any age. It has also turned me on to other types of exercise. I'm thinking about taking tennis lessons this summer. When my husband asks me to go bike riding with the kids, it's not like, 'Oh, can I do this? It's, 'I know I can do it.'"
Brooke Weinmann, 42
racewalking for four years
"Before racewalking, I'd never been one to exercise. I'd start and then quit. My husband bought me an exercise machine and I sold it ... I have lost inches, my clothes feel looser. I have a lot more energy ... I feel better about myself. For me, that's a big step. I'm actually doing a positive thing for myself."
Marilyn Shay, 50
racewalking for nine months
"I can wear skirts and dresses that I couldn't wear last year. My legs are thinner, my hips are smaller and more firm. I've dropped 12 pounds and lowered my blood pressure. ... I used to go to step classes, but they were boring, so I didn't enjoy them. With racewalking, I'm never bored. I have to think about what I'm doing it's challenging."
Dale Schmidt, 55
racewalking for five months