Walking in Airports

When the final itinerary for the book tour showed up, I went through it on a line by line basis. I immediately saw that my 660-day streak of 10,000 steps was in imminent danger. I figured I could make the Arizona part of the tour work as far as steps were concerned, but once I hit the one-night stand part of the tour, there wasn’t going to be any walking time available between my arrival times at hotels and pickup times for events.

So I took action. I called the publicist and asked him to move all my airport pickup times half an hour earlier than they had been originally scheduled. That generally gave me an hour or so before boarding to get in some steps. And that’s what I did—walking with a fully loaded purse on one shoulder and a leather computer bag on the other.

Did you know that concourses are generally good for a thousand steps? In Phoenix, where you can walk in one corridor among all three terminals, that’s good for a lot more than a thousand. So that’s where I did the walking on the tour—in airports. The only time I almost came to grief was in Phoenix when someone hit me with his bag in the back of my knee. That one almost knocked me down.

When I’m walking, I always feel like I’m six-feet tall and bullet proof, but I obviously don’t look nearly as spry as I think, because any number of times concerned people asked if I required a wheel chair. I told them no, I was fine. In terms of the tortoise and the hare, I was definitely the tortoise, but I would get there eventually.

It turns out walking in Arizona wasn’t nearly as easy as I expected. It was HOT. Not that hot for the people who live there and endured this scorching summer, but for a weather wimp from Washington, I found myself scurrying from one patch of shade to another, even in what should have been the early morning.

In Tucson, with an extra hour between Green Valley and the San Xavier event, I opted for walking in a Walgreens. The place was cool at high noon, and cool was what I needed. Traveling up and down every aisle was good for 500 steps.

It was by far the neatest and least junky Walgreens I’ve seen in years. Every package of potato chips or Cheetos was in its proper place. I did notice that their inventory of Pampers was on the light side. Their inventory of Depends type products was just the opposite.

I also noticed one section marked “Sexual Health.” I don’t remember seeing one of those before. A woman several decades younger than I am spent the better part of half an hour parked in that section, reading the fine print on the back of every bottle and package. I couldn’t help but wonder what her story was, but obviously I didn’t ask.

Happily, I came home with my walking streak still intact. It’s currently at 680 days. On Sunday night of this week, I crossed the 23,000,000 mark. I wanted to take a screenshot to prove it, but for some reason, the phone stalled out as far as counting was concerned at 22,999,996. It took several trips around the kitchen island to get it counting again, and then, rather than hitting the right number is added in a few.

So here’s the screenshot. My agency manager from back in my life insurance days, Gilbert F. Lawson, used to say, “Know the score, keep the score, report the score. The score will improve.” So that’s what I’m doing right now—reporting the score.

44 thoughts on “Walking in Airports

    • Since weighted walking is better for bone density your purse and computer laden effort provided double duty benefit!

  1. At 6’1” I only need to walk 6,000 steps to equal my wife’s 10,000 as she is 5’5”. So the question I probably need to ask (but don’t think I want the answer) is “am I getting as much exercise as she is?”
    By the way, I haven’t cried reading books for years, but then I discovered yours, and you developed your characters so well I’m back to crying — as I just did at the end of “Nothing to Lose”. But I’m 83 so as the song says “I’ll cry if I want to”.

  2. We have also found walking at airports get the steps in. We are also asked do we need a wheelchair or cart. My husband is 90 and I am 86. We walk the hills at home in NY. and the local neighborhood streets when in AZ.

  3. Good job, keep moving. I totally understand. I am on my fourth year of 10,000 steps a day and I do not want to give it up. I am from KC Mo so we drive to Yellowstone and Myrtle Beach SC, I am the person walking in circles at every rest stop and hotel parking lot.
    I enjoyed hearing about all of walking stories, also I love all your books.
    Thank you for the good reads.
    Jane Becker

  4. I am on my fourth year of 10,000 steps a day and I do not want to give it up. I am from KC Mo so we drive to Yellowstone and Myrtle Beach SC, I am the person walking in circles at every rest stop and hotel parking lot.
    I enjoyed hearing about all of walking stories, also I love all your books.
    Thank you for the good reads.
    Jane Becker

  5. Judy, you are obviously the most determined woman on the planet.
    I admire you in so many ways. Writing mystery murders is at the top of my list. Staying true to the promise to yourself to do 10,000 steps a day is next. The list goes on and on, but NOTHING gets in your way. Just proves the old adage, “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way”.

  6. I was one of the lucky ones to snag a ticket to your Green Valley stop and many of my friends were able to as well. In comparing notes, we all agreed that the time flew and wished you had been able to stay even longer. However, we could hear our “Moms” reminding us to share. I was 3/4 of the way through another book, so had to finish it before starting in on “Blessings of the Lost Girls”. It has been worth the wait and just LOVE your sense of humor! I read while I am in the gym starting at 5:30 and often get some interesting looks when I burst out in laughter.
    So glad you were able to keep your streak going.

  7. Brava and brava. Congratulations on maintaining your streak of walking 10,ooo steps and of doing your book tour.

  8. Admirable! Mother was a mall walker for years before she had to move in with my sister. Then she had to climb 15-20 stairs to her bedroom. She did it till the day she died at nearly 95 years. You ladies are impressive.

  9. I fell asleep reading “Blessings” last night, but woke up at 1:30 and picked it up again. Will go back to it in a bit. I’m learning a lot about the Indians of Arizona. Have visited there several times so some locations are familiar.

    I can’t believe the evil of the bad guy. It’s awful that such people exist.

  10. I love your books. Thank you for continuing to share your talent. I’m not much of a walker after many foot surgeries but I try to keep moving. You’re an inspiration.

  11. What an accomplishment! Congratulations! You are very inventive in finding plots and finding steps!

  12. I have discovered that you and Rachel Ray have something in common. When I have occasionally watched her show, it has made me THINK about cooking. ? When I read your blog about your dedication to getting your 10,000 steps, it makes me THINK about walking. You seem to have more influence tho. I do walk some, not enough and have never counted my steps. But I think that maybe I should get a counter thingie. As for cooking, well I quit watching Rachel Ray. Is she still on? But I read your books as soon as they come out. ?

  13. As a survivor of several frantic runs through airports in order to make connections, I’m glad someone has found a positive about those long corridors! I’m guessing that you will have completed your steps long before you arrive at the Salem Library this evening. And that wherever you are staying tonight, between Salem and Vancouver WA, you’ll find a place to walk before it warms up. Can’t believe we are having a mini-heatwave here in the valley!
    Hour of the Hunter is now on my re-reading list, since Diana Ladd’s backstory was summarized in Blessings. I was actually thinking about that particular plot recently (don’t know what got me thinking about it, but it might have been a rodeo reference), but because it is set in Oregon rather than Washington or Arizona, I thought it was in a different author’s book. Only when I encountered the reference in Blessings did I get on the right track. So many plots, and my brain is not sorting them as readily as it used to!

    See you tonight!

  14. Great idea. I will be in 3 airports tomorrow, I will use the time to improve my steps. Thank you for the tip.

  15. 10,000 steps a day is probably 6 or 7 miles….that is a lot, particularly on a hard surface like an airport concourse…would make my feet hurt….

  16. You are a heroic walker. Keep it up. I keep track also but, you are out of my league

  17. Congratulations! I used my walker to walk from my house to the corner, cross the street, and come home again – probably 1,000 steps. Today, I am paying the price…much pain and fatigued. God bless you and keep you going for another 23,000,000!

  18. Hello!
    Good for you!
    I have been under the weather for almost 4 weeks (good grief!), so my walking streak is definitely all fouled up. Hope to be up and out again soon. Will be a slow start, though.
    I walk at stores (Menard’s, etc…) also. Parking far away helps. Just have to have my phone in my pocket!
    Have a great weekend!

  19. WOW!!
    You are an inspiration in so many ways-
    Not “Just” an ever-inventive author of thrilling, unput-downable mysteries-
    Not “just” the creator of characters so real that we readers care deeply about them,
    cheering on the good ones, and cursing the evil ones-
    Not “just” an honorary cultural anthropologist who is able to educate us Milghan
    about what is sacred to the Desert People-
    But also a model, step-by-step, for health and movement-

  20. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I remember when you first started how you would walk to and around your yards at the Washington and Az house I was so impressed you became my hero as well as my favorate author…. Keep up the good work . I’m looking to start reading your first Ali book this week again , I enjoyed each book you’ve written …Jan

  21. I was in Phoenix mid-September for a wonderful conference and can relate to your experiences walking in the airport. I could easily have walked with you through the airport as I too, was slow and steady – pulling my roll-a-board while shouldering my carry-on which had my handbag, a book, snacks and a light jacket!
    Arriving in Seattle to the rain and cool temperatures was delightful!

  22. You are truly inspirational to making an exercise plan be a priority AND making it work. ??

  23. I used to fly to Des Moines, Iowa, from Hartford, CT now than then. I had to change planes in Chicago at O’Hare. My flight from Hartford landed at one gate, but the gate for DSM was at the opposite end of the airport. I didn’t think of counting my steps at the time, but should have. Walking is great exercise.

    I’ve just finished Blessing. Clever and surprising. The killer wasn’t playing with a full deck, but he fooled folks for a long time. I’ll never think of rodeos the same again.

  24. Kudos to you, I am also a walker, have been for 25 years ands on average 8000 steps everyday. I limit as I do weights and yoga as well. But it’s getting somewhat difficult with age (78).

    On other not just finished Blessings of the lists girls. You have not lost your story telling skills??.

    Time to start new series with Jenny Brady – a crime investigator ?, may be few novella.

    Good bless

  25. Congratulations on that incredible walking streak! You have been a great inspiration to me. Although I have been walking sporadically for the past few years, I got serious this summer. My 10,000 steps streak is only 88, but I got a “Keep up the good work” from my doc yesterday so it must be working. Glad you found a way to keep it going!

  26. Congratulations on your milestone. Was really great seeing you at the event in Green Valley, AZ. I’m from Yakima, WA it’s taken me 6 years to get acclimatized. It’s still to hot.

  27. I enjoy walking with my dog and we usually get in 1.5 to 2.0 miles every time we get to the park. I too am a weather wimp and when it is rainy or cold I head over to our local Lowes store–they are the most dog friendly people and we can walk for an hour or more. The lumber lady always has treats for my dog when we are finishing up our walk : )
    When I drive friends to appts. I take my dog and we walk all around the medical center or the Grocery complex and get lots of exercise instead of sitting and waiting in the car.

    Love your books!


  28. I had the pleasure of attending your talk in Redmond and have loved all your books anxiously waiting for the next…. I always new we shared the same birthday tho mine was in 1946 but I also found out we shared a similar college experience… I naively thought I would be an architect until they told me I could only enroll in interior design I told them politely that I didn’t want to sell furniture. So I switched schools and majored in art and art education and spent my career as a art teacher. I loved my time teaching and found it to be a perfect fit. I later found out it wasn’t until a couple years later the first woman was accepted into architecture school and that was in the mid west. Thank you for the hours I have spent reading your wonderful stories.

  29. Wow! Big congrats on that Big #! & for your 2017 to 2023 Steps Dedication! & mostly to YOU & your book + tour :- ) Good, Good wishes w/All,

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