Sunday, August 28, 2011

the solo walks, blisters and two lessons

Lesson #1

After two very long weeks my foot seemed ready to cooperate with my training and I headed out for 12 miles (19k).  That was last weekend.  I felt really good for the most part and got an early start so I would be out of the heat of the day as quickly as possible.  What I find interesting about these walks is how I can feel on top of the world, and not even a full second later feel the intense need to sit down and never get up again.  That is how I was from about 8.5 miles and on.  It was brutal.  I looked at my sportband every few seconds seeing how far I had gone (the weekend endurance athlete equivalent to the nagging child in the back seat saying "are we there yet?).   At 9.3 I was only feet away from my car.  I stretched for a moment in the grass, debating whether or not I had it in me to complete the 12 miles or not.  I hit "end" on my Nike Sportband, got in the car and cranked up the AC.

Then I called dad to have him help talk me off the ledge.

Dad was realistic.  He reminded me that I will know when I need to stop and just to listen to my body.  He reminded me that I hadn't walked in 2 weeks.  He reminded me that it was over 100 degrees outside.

I decided to sit in the car longer, enjoy an apple and the air conditioning a little while before I decided to head back out or go home.  This was when I got my second wind and understood this weekend's lesson.
It is okay to rest.

I know that may seem like a silly lesson - but I don't like to stop once I start.  If I stop - I stop.  So if I felt the urge for a break, I would allow myself 15-30 seconds of stretching then start again (sometimes less than that - I want to keep moving forward).   Enjoying that wonderfully delicious fuji apple in the car (and it was an absolutely intoxicating fuji apple) gave me just what I needed to head out again.  And I did.  I only made it to 11.3 but like dad said you know when you need to stop.

By the way, I headed out the next day for 7 easy miles and it felt really good to hit those back to back.  I was surprised, but these distances are getting easier to get through.

Lesson #2 

Yesterday I headed out for 13 miles.  I wanted to get an early start and bought a flashlight the night before and then overslept.  I didn't start until 6.  I knew it was going to be a hot day.

I laced up my new shoes and headed out.  The air was still.  Usually there is more wind by the lake and I really hoped it would pick up.  It never did.  There were fewer people out than usual and more gnats.  There is one section about 1/2 mile long that is filled with gnats.  They fly in your face, ears, all over your clothes.  I learned the first week to keep my mouth closed during this portion of the walk.  You get the idea.  I shudder now thinking about it.

This walk I was determined to let myself rest whenever I wanted.  If I wanted to sit on a bench for 30 minutes so be it.  When I hit 6.5 I turned around and headed back the other direction.  I was afraid that if I passed my car at 9.5 that I would be tempted to stop because my feet were really beginning to hurt.  I might as well create the situation where I must complete the walk.

Still glad I did it this way, but mad that I didn't get that earlier start because the last 5 miles are in full sun and right on the water.  It was exceptionally uncomfortable.  Finally I pushed myself to a covered picnic area about 1/2 mile from the end of my route and hung out there for some time eating figs and talking with a runner named Patrick.

But I have left out something.    I was also having a hard time concentrating, was somewhat faint and had the overwhelming urge to lick my arms.  LOL   I'm a salty sweater - - and this week's lesson for me:  "I must take salt."  Now this is really counter to my natural way of thinking.  I have to avoid salt because it triggers my Menieres Disease symptoms.  I don't touch the stuff if I can help it.  But I came home and poured a little salt into some water and drank it up.  So now I know.

You may have noticed earlier that I mentioned wearing new shoes out on the 13 mile trek.  I don't know if that was the best decision or not and I still am not sure.  My other shoes were too small and were extremely painful to wear on longer walks.  These were not broken in however, and now I am suffering.
Blisters on the balls of my feet and around the entire heel on one foot.  Alas.

I did not make it out for my 9 miles today as a result and am now hobbling around with layers of band aids, moleskin and athletic tape.  It could be worse.

To help bring an end to breast cancer, please consider donating to my walk.

If you would like to help me purchase the items I need to finish training and for the walk weekend itself, please visit this link.

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