MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Danny and Allan G. '20

Jan 11, 2018

Speed Walking

Posted in: Miscellaneous

For winter break and the first half of IAP, we are in North Miami, Florida. We’re relaxing, making some art, some animation, cooking with our mom, cleaning around the house, meeting up with high school friends, spending time with our family, and also speed walking.

During the semester, exercising is honestly not nearly as high up as it probably should be (read: is unfortunately the very last thing) on our priority list. It’s even below matching our socks in pairs. And we have been walking in mismatched socks every day for almost a year now. (Freshman fall was a different, more virtuous time.)

Because semesters are very sedentary for us, we have been making an effort this break to try to move a little. Since we don’t like most forms of exercise and used to go on walks with our mom frequently, changing those walks to speed-walks was a fairly simple transition. Most of these sessions take place on this really nice, 1.25ish mile, linear path by our building, totalling the whole back-and-forth walk at 2.5ish miles. It is bordered left and right with lush green that is home to at least (we are convinced) 40 wild cats!! Beyond the right tree border is road, but beyond the left one is the beach! It’s been pretty fun going on these walks regularly.


Here are some memorable snippets:

- When we speed-walk with our mom, usually all of us listen to our own music, or none of us do and we talk. But this one time, since there weren't too many people passing by, our mom suggested to just play her music (which was a playlist of her (which is also our) favorite Russian songs) on speaker. We just walked and jammed without a care in the world.

- Another time, we decided to walk on the beach (side note: we learned walking on sand is significantly more difficult!). The entire time, we were basically the only ones walking, and then we saw in the distance, a 60ish-year-old woman walking towards us, with more pep in her step than in ours combined. She was in full exercise gear, headband and all. We silently really appreciated the aesthetic. As she speed (sped?) walked by us, we must’ve had looks of distress or pain on our faces (like, yes, that’s very likely), because to our surprise, she looked at us and very motivationally yelled “PUSH IT PUSH IT.” Immediately, we both just grinned, because how can you not grin at that! It really made the rest of the walk great (despite the sand making it painful).

- We had some stale bread at home, so our mom decided to bring it with us on the walk to potentially feed some seagulls. We thought that maybe we’d feed like five. But boy oh boy did we feed more than five seagulls. There must’ve been 50! They were also kind of scary! They were INCHES away from our faces with their sharp beaks, literally screaming for the bread.


- The day after Christmas, we saw a group of about 10 cats, lounging by the start of the path. This was strange, because we usually never see them there or together in such a large group. So our mom, surprised, said “Oh! They must be recovering from last night’s Christmas party!”

- Due to a cold front, it was a freezing 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Miami for a couple of days (yes, in Miami, water actually solidifies at that temperature). But that didn’t stop us! We put on three top layers and our mom’s sweatpants (because we didn’t pack well and left ours back on campus). When we got to the path, it literally felt like it was hailing sand. The wind was so strong that it blew a whole bunch of it in the air. Yeah, that's it, there isn’t a conclusion to this one. 

- One day, the sky was very pretty : )


- We were about to go walking without our mom, and before we left the apartment, our mom suggested one of us to use her fanny pack. It was because she didn't trust either of our clumsy-and-head-in-the-cloud selves with holding keys (and we knew this), but Allan, who called dibs, was still extra excited to wear it! It ended up being super comfortable and convenient, and even fit a phone! Such functionality deserved it's own snippet.

- We went on a pretty late speed walk with our mom. It was almost completely dark and by the time we made it halfway through, it became completely dark. As we passed by a looser patch of trees, we saw a huge, yellow, semi-orb setting on the water. We soon realized it was actually rising, and that it was a Supermoon! (The picture really doesn't do it justice.) We just stopped for a little and watched it. Our mom then took her headphones out of her phone, and her Russian music began playing on speaker. Logically, we proceeded to dance sillily (hopefully that's an actual adverb). It was one of those spontaneous and fun moments that you know you don’t want to forget.

When initially thought of, this blog was going to be only a list of cute/memorable speed walking stories. But we think we’ll tag on this analogy, because it seems fitting.

It often feels like you are speed walking at MIT (like beyond the *literal* shuffle-shuffle-i'm-so-cold-and-need-to-get-inside speed walk).

Work piles up from essays to psets to projects to clubs to urops, and often, it feels like the only way to keep up with it all is by speed walking through it, by maintaining a pace that will ensure you get everything done, but not one that will burn you out.

Sometimes, you have to speed up a little, 1.5x speed online lectures to get through them all, go into a sprint, run from the student center with your lunch in hand to class. Other times, you can slow down, and take the time to stretch you arms in the air, that extra hour of sleep, savor the feeling of your entire foot planting on the ground, and savor that extra moment in the lounge with your friends.

Sometimes, the person you’re speed walking with gains speed that you don’t, and you try to catch up to them with everything you’ve got. But you’re really struggling to run, and you’re friend sees that. They will run back to you, and walk you through that pset question at your own pace.

Sometimes, you’ll decide to take a break from your speed walk, marvel at the scenery, feel grateful that you are at MIT, breathe in the ocean air under the moonlight, and talk with your friend about life and stuff at 1am.

Sometimes you’ll find yourself speed walking on sand. You didn’t realize it would be as hard as it actually is, but you keep going at it. And just when you are about to give up, you’ll find that there is someone there to give you that extra “PUSH IT” you need, or that extra comfort you need, or that shoulder to cry on.

We don’t have any plans for the first half of IAP, so we’ll just keep speed walking in preparation for spring semester.

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