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Walk About

I decided to start walking around the neighborhood with my friend Shirley because I figured it would be a great way to get back into pre pregnancy shape, increase my physical endurance, and get out of the house for a whole hour without the children.

On the first day I met Shirley at her house and I couldn't wait to get started. I brought several bottles of spring water to keep my body hydrated, a new pair of tennis shoes so my feet wouldn't get blisters, and a cellular phone in case one of us passed out from all of the fresh air. We decided to start off slow, but before I realized it, we had covered three miles. I figured at this rate, we'd be able to run the Iromman Decathlon in the spring.

The next day I felt great -- and I figured the blisters on my feet would stop hurting just as soon as I broke in my new tennis shoes.

"Let's go the same route," I said. "I like the challenge."

I didn't move quite as fast as the first time and groups of joggers in trendy athletic shoes waved as they kept passing us on the sidewalk.

"Can you go faster?" Shirley hissed. "You're not walking, you're sauntering."

"Go on ahead," I panted. "Don't worry about me. Save yourself. Just tell my family I love them."

"We've only gone two blocks."

On the third day I decided I might be able to walk farther if I paced myself better.

"How far are we going today?" I asked.

"About a kilometer."

"Great!" I said. "Is that far?"

"It's the same distance from the cosmetic counter in Nordstrom's to the Misses Sportswear department then down to giftwrap."

I nodded knowingly.

As we walked down the block, I could feel the muscles in my calves becoming stronger already. But, after five minutes, my legs began to cramp, my bunions hurt, and both feet felt like they were on fire.

"Can we just go straight from cosmetics department to the café for a little rest?" I said.

"Don't get smart. You want to get in shape, don't you?"

"Absolutely!" I said as I mentally crossed her off my Christmas card list.

The next night I couldn't wait to get the death march over with. It took me twenty minutes to limp from my driveway to Shirley's house.

"Are you OK?" she asked.

"Sure," I lied. "I never felt better."

I talked her into bringing her two large German Shepards with us, then I snatched the leash out of her hand and held on as they pulled me around the block.

On the fifth night I had an idea. I strapped on my comfortable sandals, slung my purse over my shoulder, and poured a cup of coffee into my water bottle and drove to her house. "Get in," I shouted as I pulled into the driveway.

"Are you giving up walking already?" she asked.

"Of course not," I said. "I feel great - as long as I don't stand, bend, or take a deep breath."

She narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

I just decided to modify my program." I said. "Who needs fresh air? I can do five laps around the mall in the same time it takes to do a mile on the sidewalk."


"Besides," I said. "I hear there's a great sale."

Shirley considered this for a moment, then flung her water bottle on the lawn and jumped into the car - and I knew, even though we might never qualify for the Ironman Decathlon, we'd both be in better shape in no time.

By Debbie Farmer!

Debbie Farmer is a syndicated family humor columnist, freelance writer, and Lifetime Weight Watcher's member. You can read more of her columns or subscribe to her monthly e-mail column at her website: or you can contact her at: