Last fall I began walking home from work. I have really enjoyed it and it's been a great personal challenge, and I've gotten the added benefit of exercise, weight loss, and etc. Rather than any other exercise program I've tried, instead of finding excuses NOT to do it, I'm constantly scheming ways to get 5 walks in a week if possible. I have, on a number of occasions, used the phrase "But.. but.. because I wanted to walk home" when we're late for something or planning on leaving town.
Back up. I've always been fascinated with extraordinary feats. Reading the Guinness Book of World Records, hearing about people doing amazing things.. It always fascinated me that someone could be the most or best at something. Like, certifiably the "only one." Call it a psychological need for uniqueness or whatever, but it's always been a draw for me.
Doing things people don't expect or understand is something I love. If someone says "but.. why would you do that?" it just means I HAVE to. If they say it can't be done, or shouldn't be done, all the better. Walking home from work in 20 below weather was fun not just because it was a personal challenge, but because it was dangerous. Go outside for an hour in that weather the wrong way and you can die. Ok, sure, I could have hopped a bus or gone into a store for help at any point, but it wasn't nothing!
The in-laws have a wonderful piece of land up by the headwaters of the Mississippi, and reading about people going the length from that babbling brook to the Gulf of Mexico makes me want to find a canoe and a backpack and just DO it. My brother-in-law and some friends once took a speedboat from Minnesota to Saint Louis down the river. Nice. How cool is that?
I've thought about streets like Lake Street and University Avenue -- how they're just regular streets, but they go for miles. Nobody thinks twice about walking three blocks down either of those streets, but rarely does anyone walk their length.
So one day many years ago I thought about how I could do something extraordinary. What hasn't anyone done? Hard to come up with anything, but in the thinking about it I thought about the size of the Twin Cities. They're pretty spread out. I wondered how long it would take to walk all the way across. Google maps tells me, but how right or wrong could that be?
This was about the time I thought about how I could prepare for a walk like that, and the distance from work to home was perfect. The first time I did it to see if I could do it. Other times it was to beat the weather. Then it was because I was losing weight and loved the idea of getting the scale to speak to me in respectful terms, not fear of my mass.
But now when I walk I think about what else I could do. Some days it kicks my butt, especially if I'm really moving, but many days it's just a pleasant way to get home. So sometimes I fiddle with google maps and come up with new ideas for ridiculous walks.
Downtown Saint Paul to Downtown Minneapolis (Radius) - This one I'm already planning.
The eastern border of Saint Paul to the western border of Minneapolis (Diameter) - My sister Lisa has told me she really really really wants to do this one with me.
Around the Twin Cities. (Circumference) - Here is where it gets crazy. That's, like three times longer than the radius. (3.141572?)
After that, who knows? Walk to the cabin in Wisconsin? The length of Route 61 to New Orleans? Golden Gate Bridge to Brooklyn Bridge? I'll probably be on some different insane hobby by then anyway, right?