I never excelled at anything physical. The training wheels stayed on my childhood bicycle for an unusually long time. My clumsy cartwheel came months behind the other girls in my gymnastics class. I was on two separate soccer teams over three or four seasons, and we were always in last place. And I was the slowest swimmer on a high school swim team whose only participation requirement was to show up to the practices. Regardless of all that, the one thing I could always do was WALK, and I truly enjoyed it.
When the man who was to be my husband and I started dating, we would frequently walk to the movies on the other side of town, perhaps stopping along the way for a meal or ice cream. From the early days of our marriage, our weekends were filled with hiking and beach strolls. Even after a decade of marriage, we commonly traversed the stretch of sand between Oceanside and Carlsbad on the California shores, stopping for a fish dinner before heading back at near sundown. Perhaps seven miles round trip in loose sand, packed sand, mushy sand under ankle-high seawater. The next day my calves would ache, my nose was sun-kissed pink, and my feet were raw. But I felt wonderful; I so enjoyed the movement.
As I neared the day that would change my health status for good, my subconscious seemed to know what was coming. I walked all over airports on travel layovers, just wanting to move. Never a runner, I started trotting and skipping between workplace and car, store and car, any time there was a chance. I wondered why some folks moved slowly, or chose to avoid movement. Little did I know how thoroughly I would come to understand.
The Inception of 100 Steps
In 2004, an onset of M.S. symptoms impacted me from the waist down. Since that time, control of my lower limbs has gradually declined. Walking is now difficult, movement labored. Although the enjoyment of movement in and of itself has left, continuing to do so is as important – even more so – than ever before. However challenging, I continue moving. Visiting a scenic location is a great distraction from the labor, a wonderful incentive to make it around a corner to see what’s up ahead or to a nearby railing to peer over. Enjoyment has shifted from the movement itself to imbibing in the fresh air, sunshine or drizzle, and the glorious vantages offered by outdoor venues.
I started to record information on my outings mid-2011, and a meager 100 Steps website was birthed in February 2012. It has continued to grow ever since, with more locations and new features. Due to the existence of 100 Steps, I have visited destinations I would have otherwise by-passed, traveled to locations I never would have considered, imbibed more fully in those I have visited, and noted details I would have otherwise overlooked (all with significant help from my dear husband). Perhaps sharing the information I’ve recorded will aid others to do the same, and most importantly to encourage them to continue moving.