Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 52

TAKING THE STAND

HOW THIS LAWYER

GOT HER
GROOVE BACK
By Andrea Lee Negroni, JD

When I retired in 2015, I could
have run a quarter mile -
on flat ground - if someone
had been chasing me. My
legal career was satisfying,
but sedentary. Sitting for long
periods had become a habit.
Without client deadlines and
demands, I became a body at
rest. Six months into retirement,
I knew I had to get moving to
really enjoy my "golden" years.

At first, without a downtown office, I obsessively
checked email, poked around the Internet, went to
daytime movies, and even opened an online store.
Basically, I was still confined to a chair, but without
a paycheck. I was restless.
So I decided to test my fitness level and treat myself
to a new destination at the same time, with a
42-kilometer hike on the French Riviera. I joined
a group I found on the Web and flew to Nice.
Today, I can laugh at how little I knew about hiking.
The trip was billed as moderate, but many of the
other hikers were in their 70s and 80s. (I was 61.) The
others had walking sticks, which I naively thought
meant they were unsteady on their feet.
Day 1 started well, but after five miles under a
scorching sun, I fell behind. The older hikers set
what seemed to me a blistering pace. Days 2 to 7
were the same, except for Day 4, when I went
AWOL, taking a train to Monte Carlo for lunch
and a peek at the Casino, instead of chasing the
others up the hills.
Lesson learned: Hiking is hard, hiking uphill in the
sun is harder, and six months of treadmilling isn't
adequate preparation. I needed to lean in, as Sheryl
Sandberg famously advised.
In retrospect, being a lawyer worked in my favor
because lawyers often work harder when they
don't get the results they want right away. The legal
profession values achievement, hard work, and
winning. Although no one was judging my hiking
performance on the Riviera, I was the obvious weak
sister of the group. Back home, frustrated by my first
effort, I upped my exercise routine and decided to
try another activity-themed trip.
My high-energy sister Christine suggested a cycling
trip on the Bodensee Trail around Lake Constance
in the German state of Baden-W├╝erttemberg.

52 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2017

*

I accepted immediately, because what's not to like
about biking along a lakeshore through quaint
villages and vineyards? We committed to 170 miles
of biking in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
To prepare, I started cycling around Northern
Virginia and spinning at the gym. Before my flight
to Zurich, 12 miles outdoors was my personal best,
but the spin classes made outdoor riding seem
easy. It was all I could do to stay upright until the
clock's big hand reached 12.
Readers, I had better luck this time! Christine and
I pedaled 132 miles through three countries in
five days. It wasn't easy, but it was more fun than
hard work.


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