One of my most successful programs last summer was Hoigaard’s Nordic Walking Tuesdays. Meeting at different spots within the Twin Cities, we provided Nordic Walking Demo poles and a quick introduction to the sport and then off we would go for a 2 ½ to 3 mile walk. Last year we averaged 25 women on Tuesdays from April to October and maxed out at 42 one evening in June. Many of the women came every week, connecting with the group and bringing their friends come with them to try Nordic walking. Through the course of the summer, including corporate demos, classes, special events and the Tuesday walks I introduced over 500 people to Nordic walking while tracking over 150 miles.
April 1 was our first Nordic Walk of the new season. Everyone was excited to get back out on the trails after a long winter here in Minnesota. I was worried that mother nature could play an April Fool’s joke on us weather wise but I never expected the 8 inches of snow we got on Monday, March 31. My email and voice mail was filled with women depressed about not being able to walk. But Tuesday dawned with full sun and lots of melting. Mixed with the superb job the Minneapolis Park Board did plowing sometime during the early morning hours and the path around Lake Calhoun was clear and dry when I checked it at noon. Nordic Walking Tuesdays could begin!
I drove the Hoigaard’s van to the lake and waited for the walkers to arrive, hoping they got my message that the path was good and the walk was on. One by one they came skipping over the snow drifts with big smiles and hello’s. Hugs and introductions, poles adjusted, leaders identified. By the time we strode off we had 18 nordic walkers swinging their poles and delighting in the early evening sun and brisk air. It was so good to reconnect with my summer friends from HOW. We had 4 newcomers so I got to walk the sunny side of the lake with them, working on rhythm and beginning technique. We all finished together back at the beach, feeling good all over!
Is it the rhythm of the poles, the connection with other women, the new friendships, being outside, the good workout, the runner’s high at the end? Everyone felt better at the end of the walk, everyone had let go of their day and now looked forward to the rest of the evening, everyone had rosy cheeks and a big smile and we can’t wait for next week.