Exercise Gal

For years, I have been trying to get in shape. I have failed miserably for several reasons. I hate to breathe hard and sweat, and I don’t look good in leggings.

My husband says my heart rate hasn’t been above 120 since I saw Troy Aikman at Café Pacific on Valentine’s Day a few years ago.

So, during Covid, I decided to start walking with friends because a good gal pal will always challenge you.

I reached out to a retired former colleague and asked her to meet on the Northaven Trail. I wondered if we would be compatible walkers. She has long legs but talks nonstop, so I figured that would give me an advantage.  

On the trail, after exchanging greetings, my old friend turned competitive ambler and took off like a Top Gun pilot blasting off an aircraft carrier deck.

She chatted endlessly and never lost her breath. As I galloped to keep up, I mentally calculated the distance to Medical City if I passed out. I was certain that day was my last on earth. Every part of me contributed to the effort. Body parts were bouncing that should never bounce. When I made it home alive, I quickly marked her off my list of potential fitness partners.

Next, I tried a tennis buddy who now lives in a palace in Buenos Aires. On my recent visit, she suggested we go walking. I quickly agreed. After all, it was the least I could do for my gracious host. Plus, she is older and shorter than me, so I trusted that keeping pace would be a breeze. Wrong. She mowed through the beautiful city parks like Rich Strike at the Kentucky Derby. I was breathing like my life depended on it. Upon our return to the palace, I collapsed face down in a puddle of sweat on one of the Persians.

I began to wonder if I have a defect. How could I be so slow given that almost every day, I hop on the treadmill at a decent saunter and a slight incline for at least 30 minutes?

Acceptance is always the first step. Maybe walking with friends isn’t for me. Maybe it’s best to go solo – stroll at my own pace, sans sweat, breathing comfortably.

That day, I increased both incline and speed on the treadmill.

Michele Valdez

Michele Valdez, a slightly compulsive, mildly angry feminist, has been an attorney, volunteer, and The Mad Housewife columnist. She has four demanding adult children and a patient husband.

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