For those of us who live in Pasadena, the Rose Bowl is more than just a stadium or a championship game of American football on New Years Day. It’s also a park, picnic grounds, soccer fields, an aquatic center, a golf course, and a three-mile bike/walk/run lane that beckons us to get healthy and enjoy life. I used to “walk the Rose Bowl” often, but haven’t in a long time. For over ten years, I’ve dreamed of walking that three-mile loop again. I finally did it!
To be honest, if I hadn’t been a bit crazy with stress that Saturday morning two weeks ago and not thinking quite straight, the dream would still be in the future. But, hey, the world would be dreadfully boring without a little wild craziness in it. Right?
The weather was too glorious waste on a treadmill and my usual hike along the Arroyo seemed boring. I went in search of a new venue and the Rose Bowl called my name. I promised myself I would limit my walk to 40 minutes, and quieted the inner voice tempting me to walk all three miles.
At the 20 minute mark when I should have turned back, I was on the west side of the stadium, with my car on the east. I convinced myself that, since I had already walked this far, I should finish the loop. How bad could it be? Besides, if I retraced my steps, I’d have to walk in the sun instead of the shade that I knew was up ahead. Surely shade would be easier to take than the sun, even if the distance was longer. (I forgot I still had to walk uphill in the sun to reach the shade.)
My stress-addled, oxygen-impaired, and dream-crazed brain used the fuzziest thinking imaginable to justify my decision to keep going: I usually walk 40 minutes at an average speed of 2.7 mph for a total of 1.8 miles, but will be able to complete an extra 1.2 miles in just an extra 10 minutes while increasing my speed only slightly. And . . . since 50 minutes is just a little longer than 40 minutes, I will be fine and not overly exhausted. Really? I plowed ahead.
A few minutes later, a fleeting moment of sanity weaseled into my brain and I phoned my husband for a ride back to my car. He promised to pick me up as soon as possible, but was still in the mountains with our dogs. He headed back to his truck right away to get me.
“Why sit and wait for him here? Go a little farther, and a little farther,” screamed the voices of temptation and perseverance inside my head. Hubby arrived as soon as he could–just after I finished walking two more miles and reached my car.
The Cheshire Cat could not have worn a broader smile than I. My 10-year dream came true. I punched my fist in the air and looked skyward, “I did it. I did it. I did it.”
When I told a friend what I’d done, he suggested I work towards a 5K (3.1 miles) charity walk. Great idea. I have a new dream to strive for. I started training for a 5K by walking two miles thee times per week. God willing and the crick don’t rise, I’ll keep going. Cross your fingers.
Impossible dreams don’t always come true, but as Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother sing in one of my favorite songs, “Impossible things are happening every day.”
*Cheshire Cat from Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”