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Just Walkin’

It’s not often that I get to sport my own outfits on camera. I wear nice stuff but it can veer into Chloe Sevigny territory more often than not, and besides, how awful would it look if these episodes aired in Spring/Summer 2015 and there I am in Fall/Winter 2007’s ready to wear collections? I mean, C’MON! :) But in this episode you get a glimpse into my own wardrobe in the form of the best t-shirt ever… Just Walkin’.

The story behind the shirt is that long, long ago I was in Louisville with my buddy Jessica, checking out the Kentucky Derby. Jessica’s friend Pat was one of our hosts, and he had this completely insane, 70s-era yellow t-shirt with “Just Walkin’” airbrushed across it in crazy green script. It sort of became an in-joke and for years after that, “Just Walkin’” became the joke answer when somebody asked me what I was up to. (It’s really funny when you say it and you’re sitting still. Seriously.)

Anyway, at home my preferred form of exercise is loooooooong brisk walks all over the city, so one day my husband presented me with my own Just Walkin’ t-shirt that he had specially made for me to wear whilst on my peregrinations. It lacks some of the yellow and all of the crazy of the original, but retains the spirit and has a cute 1980s gym class look about it.

So when packing for the Houston trip, knowing I’d be running at top speed on the treadmill, I threw some regular workout gear in the suitcase and then brought Just Walkin’ along as a joke. That night I showed the director my wardrobe pieces and brought that out with the disclaimer “Now, you don’t have to put this on tv; I just brought it along for fun; but…”. And whaddya know. She loved it! We decided to made it kind a running gag (running, get it? Ha!) so the next day my humble little t-shirt got its star turn on camera.

Playing with the treadmill was a blast. Jason, our elite sprinter, is an ace on that thing and has helped Dr. Weyand with all sorts of studies. He’s even set the record for fastest backwards-hopping-on-one-leg on that thing (4m/sec! Holy moly!). We all enjoyed grilling Dr. Weyand about all the experiments he’d run on the predecessor to the Houston treadmill – an even bigger treadmill at Harvard that has measured the strides of all sorts of animals. We learned which animals they’ve run on there (everything from flightless birds to jungle cats), what they use to entice the animals to run (a steak dangled in front of the carnivores, or a poke in the butt for herbivores), and what happens if the animal goes poop when the treadmill is running at top speed (exactly what you’d expect would happen, which is bad news for whomever is on herbivore butt-poking duty).

Participating in the experiment was a whole lot of fun too! I was really surprised by the results – I’ve never been a good runner and just figured I wasn’t designed for it, but Jason and I had more in common than I expected and it really showed me that running was something I could do if I just applied myself. I also enjoyed burning a few calories in anticipation of the crew dinner at a ridiculous Texan steakhouse that night – massive hunks of meat! And the fact that I was wearing shorts outside in early January was kinda cool too.

Surprise, surprise, next week features more of me on a treadmill! I don’t get up to speeds close to what I hit in this episode, but I am once again subjected to mild torture by the guys at DRDC Toronto, who this time forego the centrifuge in favour of sticking me in a heat chamber, making me walk briskly up a hill for 30 minutes, and monitoring my core temperature through a radio transmitter in my, uh colon.