Walking The Walk

By Jamie Miles

After a hard day facilitating a just resolution, mediator John Miles often enjoys strenuous physical exertion. Walking is Miles’ preferred way to wind down. But this isn’t your grandmother’s leisurely stroll around the block. No sir. John clips along Madison, Georgia’s scenic byways as fast or faster than many joggers his age.

He jokes that walkers don’t get any respect from runners and that his mission is to free walkers from their chains. Miles recently completed the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K (9.3 miles). He finished the distance in a little over two hours and enjoyed a stack of pancakes with a side of bacon afterwards.

Okay. He didn’t but surely he thought about it. What follows is a few scintillating excerpts from an interview with John, my husband — the walker, in between five mile loops from our house on a Saturday morning.

You are the big 5-0, what have you done athletically in the past?

First of all, I’m 51. In high school, I played football, basketball and ran track – sprints.

I hated long distance running.

I played one year of college football and after that . . . I never ran again. Until I started dating you, then I ran because you ran everywhere.

But I always hated running. First, because I associated it with organized athletics and I can’t ever seem to get a rhythm. I go too fast or too slowly.

Then as I got older, I got fatter. 

To combat that pesky mini inner tube that tends to gravitate around midlife midsections, Miles started running again using the Jeff Galloway run/walk method. After running a few half marathons and completing some triathlons using the run/walk method, my dear hubby admitted he still hated to run.

When did you decide to fully accept your walker identity?

You started to want to run marathons. That broke up our running together — when you took it to that marathon level.You said that if I would sign up for the marathon you would walk it with me. And so I agreed even though I knew that it was a lie.So I walked a Disney Marathon in 2010 and that’s when I embraced whom I was at my core . . . a man who walks.

Here is the serious thing about it. I do need to exercise because I’m getting older. And I would rather go out and walk 5 miles than run 2 miles.

I just did a 12:35 per mile pace this morning.  I can do that no matter the distance. If I went out and ran 3 or 4 miles, I’d be stiff and sore but I’m not when I walk.

What was your highlight as a walker – your “Rocky at the top of the stairs” moment? 

It was cool to walk that marathon but I couldn’t really celebrate. I had never trained more than 18 miles and was so sore after the race.I really do enjoy the 9 to 10 miles distance. I can do that distance in a race and still want to hang out afterwards and do stuff. I don’t feel all beat up.

 Any advice to would be walkers?

I need to have something I will do consistently. Walking is that something.I don’t dread it and love to listen to books on tape. I never listened to music but a good story helps. I only will listen to my Jack Reacher books on walks. I reward myself for walking while I listen to my book.

Jack Reacher is crusading for justice, taking on the world and I’m walking my 12:40 minutes per mile. In my own way, I feel I am Jack Reacher.

I think somewhere Reacher is proud.

What is your next challenge?

I’d like to try a half marathon.  I’m pretty sure if I was remotely trained, I could do a half marathon.Any ideas when that might be?

I’d like to travel some place warm for a race rather than signing up for one in Athens or Augusta. If I was going to Athens, I’d just as well have a hamburger.