The decision was made in March. Jessica and I were sitting across from each other at The Prohibition Room when I made the comment about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day. “I’m thinking about doing it” I said casually as I sipped my old fashioned. “Me too!” she said. And so it began.
The decision was easy. I would train until November to walk 60 miles in 3 days. The actually training, shoe horror stories and even hitchhiking ridiculousness has brought me where I am today: 12 days away from the 60 mile walk. If I knew what I know now about the emotional roller coaster this would end up being would I have signed up in the beginning? Probably not. I had some really low points on this journey and it was a hard journey to do alone. That said, I’m doing it again next year.
I like the difficulty. I like how the difficulty strengthens my mind. I like taking care of my physical body. And I like raising money for an important cause.
The Susan G. Komen foundation does get a lot of attention. There are a million other very worthwhile causes to support who do not get the support that Komen does. Still, I believe it is a very important cause to walk for, and I do not want to say goodbye to another person because they are dying from breast cancer. So, I decide to walk.
Jessica and I are making a “garden” for our tent decorations. You have to decorate - - not my thing at all but how else can you identify your tent among a sea of pink tents? The two people closest two us - one who survived and one who didn’t - will have a garden around our tent with their favorite flowers. They will be painted flowers but I think we will smell their sweetness still.
For those of you who have supported me with my fundraising, personal needs and awesome words of encouragement, thank you. Every time you reached out you touched my heart and I appreciate you more than you can know.
I'm looking forward to returning to normal again. Normal not meaning spending my Saturday watching Bravo television all day and sharing a blood supply with my sofa, but normal as in walking 10 miles or less on any given day.
This Saturday I walked 17 miles. It was okay. It wasn't great. The last 2 miles were a little tough and I didn't make it out the following day. I could have. I should have. I didn't. I slept most of the weekend, actually.
I am planning on walking a marathon in April, so I can't drop my mileage too much, but the idea of walking an easy 9 or 10 instead of 15+ just sounds heavenly.
My walk is in about 30 days. I can't believe it has happened so quickly. It seems like I only just began this journey.
If you would like to make a donation or learn more about what I am doing, click here.
It has been an interesting journey. I have had this deadline (for the walk - first weekend in November) to focus on and keep me motivated, but I have also had what has felt like a million setbacks. Back problems, foot problems, shoe issues, stomach bugs and increasing amounts of overtime at the office have taken their toll on my enthusiasm. All through it I think I have done a decent job staying positive and moving forward, but here at 8 weeks away from the walk I am feeling a little nervous and unprepared. I really wish I had been able to do all my training walks. I really wish I was more confident with my shoes.
I took the last shoes (the shoes from hell) back to the store I bought them from and they were overwhelmingly helpful. They spent time with me to troubleshoot the issues and then exchanged the shoes and inserts with no problem. I was so relieved. These new shoes felt good right away, so I am optimistic. This week is a short week, mileage wise, so I won't have to work at breaking them in on a 15 mile trek. That didn't work so well for me last time.
I am hoping these shoes will be perfect and I can go buy the other pair next week. If not, I feel I am getting dangerously close to the walk for having new shoes. I know it will all work out - - but those little butterflies in my stomach are really wanting some sneakers on their imagined feet.
I have raised 51% of my fundraising goal. Have you donated yet? Your donation will help bring an end to breast cancer. Save the life of someone's mommy today. Donate here.
If you would like to help me purchase the items I need for the remainder of my training and the walk itself, please check out this link.
Many thanks to all of you for your love and encouragement.
Last week I walked 13 miles in new shoes. As a result of them either being new or not correctly fitted, the end result was blisters on a good percentage of my feet and awkward and painful walking until Thursday. Mom, my biggest cheerleader, thought they would certainly be broken in for this weekend's walk.
I headed out really early this morning. The sun didn't even begin to peek its sleepy self up over the horizon until 5 miles in. I was so proud to be on schedule, wanting to be done and headed home just as the heat of the day was picking up. My feet were really struggling though.
I stopped at 5 miles, put moleskin on my feet, slathered them in petroleum jelly then started again. At 6 miles I put more moleskin on. At 7 miles I changed socks and debated continuing around the lake for 2.5 miles or taking the long route back. If I continued, I could be at my car in only a half hour. If I turned around I would have to walk the 7 before any relief. I turned around.
My feet seemed worse when I stopped. If I kept going and didn't allow myself any rest - at all - - the pain would be constant. So I told myself to just keep going. Don't stop. Don't rest. If I did stop, I would kick at the ground a bit to keep the pain going. I know it sounds crazy but it was easier than resting them and then starting on them again. Those fresh starts were really tough.
At 8 miles I wrapped my feet up in ace bandage and called my dad. I really wasn't sure if I could do this or not - but what choice did I have? I knew my feet weren't going to fall off under these socks - they were just hurting. So I told myself to deal with it - keep walking - and get to the car.
At 9 miles I passed a police officer and resisted the overwhelming urge to ask for a ride back. This was all in my head. My body felt good. I wasn't tired or too hot, hungry or thirsty. My feet just hurt. I could do this.
What didn't make any of this any easier was my audio book choice.
The last two books I have listened to have contained a lot of talk about Italian and French food. Instead of feeling tired, I would dream of food, coming up with some new recipe with mushrooms or trying to think of something that does not go well with Champagne. For the record, I'm not sure there is anything that does not go well with Champagne.
I am not a huge fan of fiction, but one of the few fiction authors I do like is Stephen King. So when someone recommended The Long Walk and I read the synopsis I thought this could be a great book to take along. To describe the story on a very basic level, the 100 walkers are participating in a sport - a long walk. They must keep their speed a 4mph, never stop, as well as follow an assortment of other rules. Should they break the rules they receive a warning. If they receive 3 warnings, their next slip-up will buy them their ticket. What is the ticket? They are shot dead. I love King.
So I think to myself, this will be a great story to listen to. I'll get myself involved in the story, walking along with them and not want to stop. It is a great story. What I heard of it, that is. A lot of the text however, is centered on the psychological game the walk participants are in. They imagined lying down and never getting up. They described in detail the pain in their feet. They talked about one participant who crawls for miles at 4mph because his feet gave out on him. In other words, King's words were my own miserable thoughts being played aloud via my iPod. So much for distraction.
But I pushed through, not even hearing the words anymore and staring off into the horizon. I could see the parking lot from where I was - only about 2 miles away at Louie's restaurant on the lake- but I kept staring at that horizon almost begging my mind to go into some sort of altered state of consciousness.
I felt great. I was not tired. I could have gone for miles more if it had not been for my feet.
Finally I made it to the picnic area about 1/2 from my car - the same picnic area I stopped at last week. I sat down, looked at the ground and my feet resting on it and considered lying down. I looked up and saw two cyclists talking as they mounted their bikes onto their cars and I looked back at the ground. A thought flashed through my mind and I wrestled with it for what seemed like an hour. I thought some more about lying down, looked up and still seeing the cyclists chatting, I debated getting up or crying. A little whimper did escape as I considered how I would feel walking the 1/2 mile back to my car. It's only 1/2 mile!!!! I can do this! I stood up, took a few painful initial steps, walked over to the cyclists and said "I'm sorry. Would one of you consider giving me a ride to Louie's?"
The female in the group immediately says yes and asks me if I need some water. I say no - my feet are just hurting so bad I don't think I can make it back to my car. I get into this stranger's vehicle without much hesitation at all, hope that she is not a crazy psycho killer but being willing to take my chances if it means I don't have to walk that 1/2 mile to my car. This is something I said I would never do - but here I was. Here I am.
Her name is Tracy and she was my savior today. She cycles with a guy named Dennis and she works in sales. That is about all I know of her. I hope I get the opportunity to thank her again someday.
I have spent the better part of this day in a sort of sad frustration. I don't think the physical aspect of walking 60 miles is as big of a deal to me as it once was. But I must get this shoe thing worked out very soon. I cannot do this and be unkind to my feet. Right now my feet despise me.
I never thought the shoes would be the thing that could prevent me from getting where I am going.