My Favorite Walk

Radnor Lake in Winter.png

I am an avid outdoors woman. Outdoors is where I feel my truest Self, my most authentic Me. I was born in Tennessee, went to college in Utah, traveled and lived in several western states and then lived in Minnesota for 25 years. Despite the brutal temperatures, I spent many hours of my Minnesota winters cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, skating, slipping on ice, swearing at ice, shoveling snow, hauling in firewood, scraping windshields. Minnesota winters are accompanied by many outdoor activities–not all of them pleasant and not all of them the exercise you had planned on.

Radnor Lake in Spring.png

Now I live about 15 minutes south of downtown Nashville. Middle Tennessee, where Nashville is located, is blessed with a temperate climate, which means being outside is pretty comfortable year round. (I mention this in contrast to the 25 years I lived in Minnesota.) Here, outdoor activities are much simpler, much easier to access, and much kinder in many ways. We rarely face frostbite or hypothermia. We just don’t do that here. For me this means that my daily walks are dictated more by time than weather. Obviously I dress for the weather–rain, snow, wind, sun, heat and humidity–but I do so knowing that exposed skin is not going to freeze in 10 seconds. This gives me a certain confidence that some (notably my Minnesota friends) might interpret as smugness. To this I say perception is reality.

My favorite walking spot here in temperate Nashville,Tennessee, is Radnor Lake. Radnor Lake is a 1,300+ acre State Natural Area with over 6 miles of walking trails. I have several walking routes based on the time I’ve made for the day’s walk but my favorite walk is to combine the Lake Trail with Otter Creek Road, thus walking all the way around the lake. It’s a walk of about 2.5 miles with stunning views and lots of wildlife. The Lake Trail is mulch and Otter Creek Road, which was at one time a road for vehicles, is paved. Both are easy to walk briskly and a delight on all levels.

Radnor Lake in Autumn.png

Walking is my daily sanctuary, my refilling time, my workout, and my moving meditation. I am an addicted walker and I am blessed to have my favorite walk be less than 3 minutes away. I walk through the woods listening deeply to the squirrels scolding, to the barred owls calling across the lake, to the geese flying overhead, to the turkeys gobbling on the hillside. I watch the silent deer pick their way to the lake for a drink and am captivated by the wind through the trees on the ridges. The lake smells of algae and time in the summer, leaves and dust in the autumn, countless blossoms in the spring, and smells of cold and patience in the winter. Radnor Lake is a place I can absolutely count on to return me to my center, to help me solve my problems, to ease my mind and settle my soul. The walk around Radnor Lake is my favorite walk because in that now familiar 45 minute moving meditation, I know that I am walking myself full circle–from who I was when I started to who I will be when I’m done.

Walking Women: Monique Odom!

Today's Walking Women interview is with Nashville's Monique Odom.

Monique Odom, Interim Director of Parks, Nashville's Metro Board of Parks and Recreation

Monique Odom, Interim Director of Parks, Nashville's Metro Board of Parks and Recreation

Q: Monique, what inspired you to start walking?

A: I’ve had a few fits of starting a walking regimen. I was inspired most recently after a significant weight gain.  To be honest, I was trying to do the least amount of exercise possible to get noticeable results.

Q: How long have you been walking?

A: I actually started walking a little over twelve years ago when I was expecting my son.  My Ob-Gyn emphasized the importance of exercise and healthy eating.  “Exercise” up to that point had been a chore for me that had conveniently been left out of my schedule.  With the goal of delivering a healthy baby, which I did, I started to incorporate walking into my lifestyle.  I first incorporated it by parking as far away as I could from my destination when I was out.  Then I started walking around the mall. Years later I started walking around the neighborhood where I work with a coworker.  I also incorporated drinking my water into my lifestyle.

Whites Creek

Whites Creek

Q: What changes (body/mind/spirit) have resulted from your walking?

A: There is definitely a mind/body/spirit connection and walking brings PEACE to all of them.  I gain so much clarity and perspective, get some of my best ideas, and can develop solutions to problems when I’m walking, especially when I’m walking outside.

Q: What happens if you don't walk?

A: I don’t feel right.  I’m not at my best. It’s kind of like when you don’t start your day or have gone a long time without “being still”.  I’m definitely not focused.

Plein air artist painting at Whites Creek Greenway.

Plein air artist painting at Whites Creek Greenway.

Q: What does walking mean to you?

A: It’s definitely an important part of my life.

Q: What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A: Carving out time to get it done, especially when I’ve fallen off the wagon or have a crammed schedule. I just have to do it.

Q: What's your favorite place (or places) to walk?

A: I really don’t have a favorite place, but I definitely prefer walking outside to indoors. Our recent walk on the Whites Creek Greenway was great!

Our "Walk & Talk" at Whites Creek Greenway!

Our "Walk & Talk" at Whites Creek Greenway!

Q: What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren't--yet?

A: I should be the poster woman for women who know they should be walking, but aren’t yet.  The return on investment of walking is invaluable. You owe it to yourself to experience. Just commit to fifteen minutes every other day and see how it makes you feel. I guarantee you’ll crave more. As women we are responsible for so much. Many of us find it hard to carve out personal time, but nothing is more important than you. Taking care of you, mind/body/spirit, needs to be your number one priority ‘cause if you don’t take care of you, you won’t be around for all the other things you have to do.

Monique, truer words were never spoken! Thank you so much for sharing your walking story!

Monique Odom is a native Nashvillian through and through. She is a graduate of Whites Creek Comprehensive High School, Fisk University, and Tennessee State University. Monique has worked for Nashville's Metro Parks since 2006 and is the Director of Nashville's Metro Parks Department. Monique lives in Nashville with her husband and son.

To learn more about Nashville's Greenways and Trails (over 190 miles in Davidson County alone!) visit:















BIG NEWS: We're Crowdfunding on iFundWomen Nashville!

I'm excited to announce that 1MWW was accepted into the iFund Women Nashville beta and our campaign just went live. Here’s the link, check us out:
The 1MWW Programs are available as rewards at special prices for the crowdfunding campaign period so get yours now before they’re gone. (And Nashville walking women, pay attention to some of the limited rewards available to you!)

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office partnered with iFundWomen, which was launched just last year by former Google exec Karen Cahn, to create a regionally specific crowdfunding platform supporting female entrepreneurs. It’s the first-of-its-kind and it includes a live fundraising event at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center on Friday, March 24, 2017from 4- 6:30 PM. Mayor Barry will be giving opening remarks at 4:30.

I'm so grateful for this initiative and platform, which give me an incredible opportunity to share the life-changing benefits of walking with women here in Nashville and nationwide.

Here’s three things you can do to help 1MWW get funded:
#1Go to and contribute. We have awesome rewards to peruse!
#2LIKE our Facebook Page.
#3Tell the women you love about #1 and #2!
That’s it. Thank you! I can’t wait to walk with you.