Former ER writer Shannon Goss muses about life as a hapa Asian American woman.
I recently said that I need to sign up for a half-marathon so I have something to train for. The assumption being, if I have a specific goal I will get in shape (and apparently an upcoming wedding is not enough of a motivator). However, after a quick trip to London, I realized that what I should be training for is life.
The trip across the pond was relatively spontaneous. Just over a week after I decided to go, the Virgin Atlantic plane touched down at London Heathrow. Despite the short notice, I was able to find a good place to stay, get my Moleskine London travel guide and order an outlet adapter. What I should’ve been doing instead is running. A lot.
While I only ran once during my time in London (a glorious run through Hyde Park), I logged more steps in one week than I probably do in one month of normal activity.
As a point of reference, health experts say you should walk 10,000 steps per day. On a good day I end up at around 6,000 steps. On the day I landed in London, I logged 6,047. That might not sound impressive except all I did was go from the airport to the hotel and then out to dinner.
The next day I logged a whopping 31,885 steps. In case you’re wondering, that’s 11.57 miles or, as I like to call it, almost a half-marathon. On this, my first full day in London, the weather was incredible and I was determined to see as much of the city as I could. Thanks to a poor sense of direction and the inability to properly read a map, I saw more than intended.
So by day four (28,039 steps / 10.17 miles), despite the comfort of my Merrell boots, I had developed two small blisters on my baby toes. It should be noted that the boots were purchased for the dual purpose of keeping my feet dry and making me look less like a tourist. It achieved both. Not only did I enjoy dry feet while walking in the rain, but I also was stopped on the street by an Englishwoman who was lost. I was very pleased with myself. So much so that I didn’t mind when she literally walked away from me as soon as she heard my American accent. Her assumption that I didn’t have much useful information for her was correct, but I still tried to be helpful in a cheerful “I’m in London!” way. Despite the fact that I found the people to be quite nice, they generally found my enthusiasm to be confusing.
By day six (22,276 steps / 8.08 miles) I had developed plantar fasciitis, which is a result of upping my miles too fast. See, here I thought I had to come up with a real reason to up my miles, but no. It’s not about being able to run 13.1 miles without stopping or having toned arms in my wedding photos (OK, maybe it’s a little about that). It’s about being able to walk without a limp while on vacation.
And so by day seven, while the rest of me would have loved to extend my trip, my feet were ready to go home. Twelve hours of rest on an airplane did them just fine because after logging a total of 116,057 steps and 42.1 miles in seven days, my dogs weren’t only barking, they were rolling over and playing dead.