I am a speed-walker. I have never liked running because it hurts my knees and ankles. Never needing to run, I can out-walk many of the runners in a race. Since I only race against myself, it doesn’t matter that the faster runners beat me by a mile. My main goal has always been to place in the top 50% of the women my age in every race. Most of the time that’s not very hard, and I like it that way. I race for the exhilaration and the energy that it brings me. Almost everyone in my family races, and race days are special events. Up early in the morning, activities involve snacking on bananas to supplement the carb-loading pasta the night before, encouraging each other at the starting line, and cheering for each other at the finish line.
Because I love to race, I started doing training walks every morning – 2-3 miles before work, getting up at 4:30 a.m., before most of the world is up. I love the cool crisp air, the porch lights, the sleepy people shuffling out to get their newspapers. Where I work at the prison, the women always caution me to be on the look-out for danger. “Not all of the crazy people are locked up,” they warn me. But, I have never taken a weapon, mace or even my phone. I was never afraid until the morning I met Artie.