WALKING FOR A CAUSE...AND SOMETIMES JUST BECAUSE

Thursday, September 30, 2010

and we're waiting, waiting...

Killing time until we hop in the car and head for SF; it seems a little surreal that the walk is tomorrow, that after all the time training, it's finally here.

As long as my feet hold out, I think I'll be fine. Blisters are my main worry, followed by movement-induced food intolerance and not knowing my tent mate. But mostly, blisters.

Out of curiosity, I pulled out the Garmin and checked the history. Since my first training walk on May 11, I've logged in just a little under 600 miles and burned through 65,000 calories.

You'd think I would have lost a few pounds, but no. I may actually be up a pound or two.

Still... It's been an amazing thing to do, something I never thought I'd even try.

Onward to San Francisco.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My bag is packed, I'm ready to go...

...standing here outside your door...I hate to wake up up to say goodbye...

Yep, it's only Tuesday and the walk isn't until Friday, but I'm packed. I thought it prudent to pack early, and it was a good idea because when I started packing last night I realized my bag was just this much too small. So the Spouse Thingy and I went tp Walmart today and got a slightly bigger bag, and this one is really spiffy. It's not a whole lot bigger, a 29" compared to the 27" bag I already had, but it's bright red and has 360o wheels.

It truly is all about the spiffy.

Now I sit here and twiddle my thumbs until Thursday, when I'm heading into SF to spend a night in a hotel before the walk starts on Friday. And don't worry, the cats aren't being abandoned...they'll be cared for. So any party they had planned...it's not gonna be as fun as they'd hoped.

Three more days! Well, two until I meet my team mates! I promise to not throw up on anyone.

I'm excitable, don'tcha know ;)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Taking names

9-24-2010

Today's intended distance: 10 miles.
Today's reality: 8 miles.

Not a real worry; I cut it short because when I stopped to change socks and check my feet, I felt the start of a very small blister, and this close to the 3 Day I'm not willing to risk making it worse by continuing on. So I slapped a blister bandage on and headed home, and we'll see what it looks like later. There's 8 miles on the schedule for tomorrow, but again...not gonna risk it if that thing looks like it'll expand.

Now the big thing...

For at least the first day of the walk, I've got this spiffy pink Supergirl cape, and I'm not afraid to wear it. What I'd like to do is write on it the names of people we've lost to breast cancer, and the names of people who have survived it. Uppermost name will be Anne Burkinshaw, a friend of mine (we had the same birthdate!) who lost her battle with breast cancer years ago. I miss her, and walk to walk in her memory.

I'd also like to carry the names of those important to you, including yourself. So if you're a survivor, you've had breast cancer, you lost someone or care about someone who has survived it or is going through treatment for it, and want me to carry their name, just leave a comment with their name, and if you want me to write "in memory of" or "in honor of" with their name.

If the cape proves too unwieldy, I'll also write the names down on either my t-shirt, or even a white handkerchief that I carry in a pocket...but those names will go with me the entire walk.

I will be honored to carry these names with me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's the views, Marge...

9-21-2010

Why I think walking 3 days in San Francisco will be a tad easier than walking 18 around home:

and

Views like this, they can keep you going, I think. We've spent several days in SF just walking around now, and I haven't tired of it. Granted, our pace has been slower than it will be on the SGK 3 Day, but we've pretty much kept moving all day long. Lots of stops and starts, but it's movement.

A couple of times I turned to ask the Spouse Thingy if I was walking too fast, and at one point I had to ask him, seriously, "Did you ever think I'd be the one asking that?"

Between us, it's been a typical question over the years. Invariably, it's him asking me; for me to turn to him and check my speed is a new thing. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it feels good. A reason it feels good is that he's not in bad shape; he Trikkes, and he's got some decent cardio conditioning going for him. But a year ago we wouldn't have even tried walking around San Francisco, because I couldn't have done it.

At least I didn't think I could do it.

Ten more days. I get more excited with each day that passes; sure, there are some nerves, but for me those nerves are tapped into my weird little phobias and not so much the whole walking thing.

I'm shy. I may not come across online as shy, but I am. This whole thing involves meeting people, people I already like but people I've never met nonetheless. If you ever wonder why the Spouse Thingy tags along with me so much, that's a major reason.

Another reason he's with me...I'm a freakishly weird about not being able to go new places by myself the first time. I do dry runs all the time, finding places I have to be at a later date, just because I have to. New restaurants, new anything, he'll go with me that first time. In that, he's my enabler, but in the sense that after that, I'm able. I can go alone.

(Unless there's someone new there, in which case I'll go alone but inside I'll be all OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!)

I have food issues. Not toddler-esque I'm not putting this odd looking thing in my mouth because it just looks wrong issues. My issues are more like, what's in it? Mushrooms? Please don't let there be mushrooms. Mango? Please no mango. I don't want to die tonight! Food allergies are a bitch, they make eating fun.

But worse than that for me is the slightly maybe major problem of being able to eat and then walk. Some not very pretty things can happen when I eat and then do anything other than sit there like a lump. Let's just be delicate and say I may be living on Immodium for three days...

So yeah, I have some weird phobias and doing this will tap into a few of them. But hell, so what?

I get to do this!

And I get to do it in one of the most scenic places on the west coast.

I have to admit, that when I began the training, in my head was this thing that was all, "You have to be able to take every damned step of the Walk; you have to keep going all day every day, and you can't take the sweeper van because that's failure. Other people can and that's perfectly fine, but if you don't walk every step of all sixty miles, you have failed."

Ya know what? I'm over that. I will do what I can do for as long as I can do it, and I will enjoy every second of it that I can. And how can you not enjoy walking around a city where a casual glance to your right pops things like this into your field of vision:


A sea lion at play.

Just ten more days...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mmm Bop...

9-18-10

8 miles.

8 uneventful miles.

That's a good thing.

I slept in a little, thanks to cats who for whatever reason decided to be nice to me, puttered around a bit, and then headed out. I was a little worried that my feet would hurt like a mofo after yesterday, but other than one little spot on each foot (same place on each foot, even, which tells me it's just how my feet were striking the surface) all was good.

I had some hip pain flare up around mile 6, but that wasn't unexpected.

I stopped at 6.5 for some frozen yogurt, and as I sat there, just outside the door, this guy walked up with his little girl, sho was maybe 5, and as he opened the door he said, "Don't tell Mommy."

LOL hell yeah, you know she told Mommy...

During part of the walk I listened to music, something I usually don't do (they won't let us on the walk, so I figured it wasn't something I wanted to train with. No point getting used to that) and I realized on the last leg that I was walking to the beat of the music. Not a bad thing, but I went from walking at a 20 mile/minute pace to a 15, and peoples, I'm too old for that chit...

I think on Tuesday we're heading back into SF to walk again, maybe scope out the Golden Gate Bridge, and figure out where the night-before-the-walk hotel is. This means we'll drive in, so if you strain and listen carefully, you'll hear a beau-coup* load of swearing riding on the breeze...

*That's French for butt-load. Really!

Friday, September 17, 2010

WooHoo, blister free

9-17-10

I couldn't face the idea of 18 miles in tiny Dixon this morning, so I headed to Vacaville to start at the Factory Outlet stores again. I got there before they opened, so I had a good hour of walking around it by myself, and by the time people started showing up, I decided to wander off the outlet store area and walk around town.

Ok, a little corner of the town. Vacaville is small, but still quite a bit bigger than Dixon.

I made sure I went where there were places to stop.

Like the library.

Which has this spiffy fountain in front of it. It took some self restraint to not take my shoes off and run through it.

It wasn't exactly hot today, but it wasn't exactly cool, either. 85 with humidity...oh yeah, I wanted to run through the fountain.

After I'd looped around the library and wandered down Elmira Road, resisting the lure of the aromas Burger City was putting into the air, I headed back to the outlet stores; I was at 10 miles when I got there and stopped for lunch.

I decided to be different today and not find the nearest McD's for a burger. Instead I opted for Subway...kind of iffy when you have issues with eating and then walking. But I figured I'd stick to the outlets for a while, guaranteeing places to stop if need be.

I ripped the sandwich in  half and stacked the meat on one side...I'm a little weird that way. But a smaller sandwich = less food to screw with me.

Another mile around the stores and I headed home to finish up around here.

Was boring.

Very boring.

I did start to have issues around mile 13; my hip decided enough was enough, and because my gait changed my knee joined in on that around mile 14. But by then I was a couple miles from the car, so there was no point in cutting it short. I timed it so that I would finish at Big Spoon Yogurt, only to find that today is their 5th anniversary special, and the first 100 customers after 5 pm would get free yogurt.

It was 4, and people were already lined up.

I fell to the ground and sobbed and wailed, and then went home to complain loudly to the cats.

They didn't give a damn.

Not that I would exaggerate or anything.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Are Teh Smart

9-16-2010

We had every intention of going back to San Francisco on Tuesday and racking up a few miles there, but the Spouse Thingy slept like crap Monday night and dragging him around half awake seemed kinda mean, so we switched plans and drove up to walk around the Galleria Mall in Roseville, where there were lots of places to sit and vegetate if he wanted or needed to. It worked out for the better, because I'm sporting new shoes and trying to break them in on a longer walk was probably not my best idea.

No, I saved my best idea for yesterday. I could have walked in the morning, but it was a nice day and we haven't taken a bike ride in a long time, and the bikes missed us terribly (shut up, they did so!), so we geared up and headed out for 75 miles of sun and zooms. But I still wanted to get a walk in, so at 6:30 I headed out.

Ya know, this time of year the days are already getting shorter.

And I'm night blind.

At 7:30 I was a mile and a half from home, the light was dimming and I only had about 5-10 minutes before it would be too dark for me to safely see...I wound up calling the Spouse Thingy to come get me.

The smarts, I has them.

On schedule for tomorrow: 18 miles. I may do like I did for the last 18 mile day, start at the Outlet Stores, maybe wander around Vacaville a little bit, and figure out where to go from there. Head towards home around lunch and finish there, perhaps. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm stupid, but I finished...

9-12-10

Thanks Max and his YOU WILL LOVE ME AND LOVE ME RIGHT NOW freak-fest at 4 a.m., combined with Buddah's quest for air conditioning the night before, I was a basket case this morning and when I rolled out of bed, one of my first thoughts (after "Why do I put up with you?" as Max head butted my boobs) was "I am not walking today. Nope. No way."

After I fed the little monsters and had some time to wake up, I pondered just doing a couple of miles. Maybe to the yogurt place and back. that would be doable. Now, I went ahead and filled my Camelback, slapped a blister pad on my foot, got everything ready like I usually do for longer walks. I don't know why; habit I guess.

A mile and a half in, I had a whole bunch of self-defeating chatter going through my head.

  • I feel like crap. I could turn around and go home.
  • Damn, I'm walking slow. Why am I so damned slow?
  • It's gonna get hot. I left late, and it's gonna get hot. I could go home now.
  • I wanna puke.
  • It is hot now..
  • No really, I think I wanna puke...
When the clammy feeling hit, the lightbulb went off in my brain, and I mentally slapped myself in the back of the head. I got everything ready to walk, but I neglected to fuel up; I left the house without having had breakfast, my blood sugar was low, and yeah, I felt like crap.

So I headed for McD's, reasoning that I could still turn around and go home, and by the time I was doneI'd have 3.5 miles, and that's not too bad.

But, kinda like I expected, within 5 minutes of downing the burger and refilling my cheap-assed large drink, I felt much better. So I decided a few more miles wouldn't hurt.

I wandered along my usual route, but when I spotted a bike path from the corner of my eye, I decided to follow it just to be different. It's nice and wide, plenty of room for people on foot and people on bikes or Trikkes, but it's hardly ever used.

I've only been on if a few times, and only pass maybe one other person every time I'm on it.

This is probably why...those cars.

The path runs along I-80 and when there's a lot of traffic--which is most of the time--it's pretty loud. Today wasn't too bad; I passed a guy on a bicycle, wasn't wishing for ear plugs, and at the end of the path is a Carl's Jr with a conveniently located restroom.

I availed myself of the opportunity and headed back out...and realized after a few minutes that I had paused my Garmin and not turned it back on. So I turned around and walked back, guessing it was about a quarter of a mile, and mentally rewarded myself a bonus point for nailing it. I headed back up the bike path and continued on, trying to figure out what mileage I'd be at by the time I got back around to the yogurt place.

6.5 miles. Perfect.

From there it's a mile and a half home...which would give me 8 miles in total. Considering I wasn't planning on walking at all, and then was going to cut it short, I impressed myself.

Yeah, I'm easy that way.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Uneventful...

9-11-10

...but these guys were a little bit distracting...

'Tis apparently the beginning of soccer season. The park, which is normally very quiet save for the few regulars walking its perimeter, was overflowing with kids and parents and siblings. The parking lots were full, street parking slots all taken. And the noise? There's nothing like hundreds of little kids all jockeying for attention of one sort or another all at the same time.

I had to stop and watch for a few minutes. This is one of the things I miss about having a sport-aged kid (or band aged, drama club aged, take your pick, it was all fun.) Watching the tiny ones learn to play is at least 4 different kinds of fun, and it was worth the break in my stride and the few extra minutes to see some excited 5 year old score a goal.

Other than that, today's 10 was just routine. And yes, I did stop for frozen yogurt. I had to pee, they have a restroom, it was right there, and not buying any would have just been rude.

And I'm nothing if not polite, dammit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

But..But...

9-10-10

Here's the problem with moderate distances being easier now: I don't feel justified in stopping for frozen yogurt. Six miles used to be a reason to stop at around mile 4.5 to indulge, but yesterday's six didn't feel like effort enough to warrant the reward. I'm not even sure eight is enough now.

Tomorrow's ten? That might. I'll probably stop around 5 to change my socks and check my feet, and around 8.5 if I'm near Big Spoon, I'll stop. I don't think I'll maneuver it so that's where I am at 8.5, but I'll feel like it's all right to stop if I am.

Today was shopping for odds and ends to pack for the walk; I think I have most of what I need. I probably ought to count my socks and make sure I have enough for changes every 5 miles...and I need to blow up my mattress to make sure it's usable and make sure the pump works, and check my sleeping bag, but as far as stuff...I think I have it all.

Three weeks from today, people!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Straight Up..and up...and up...

9-7-10

If this street wasn't a 50% grade...it sure as hell felt like it. I know it was steeper than it looks from here.

BTW, if you're heading out to tackle the inclinous, don't make the first hill you head up on a freak show of steep.

On the other hand, doing it first gets it out of the way.

After meeting DKM for lunch (YAY!) the Spouse Thingy and I spent about 5 hours walking around San Francisco again. We went up and down the hills streets, and then wandered through the touristy part of China Town.

China Town is, not surprisingly, kind of cool. The streets are crowded with people aiming cameras at the buildings and other people, making it a little difficult to get any speed going, but by then we had taken it down a notch and were doing a lot of looking around, too.

All in all I think we only did 4-5 miles, but my legs felt like a whole lot more after some of those hills, so I call it Good Enough.

I mean, I know I can do distance now, so why the hell not go for some leg strength and the cardio benefits of climbing stretched of asphalt-covered torture?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One-third short...

9-5-10

Well, physically I could have done it; my left foot, on the other hand, decided to cut me short today and I only got in 10 miles. I took a short break at 5 miles, thinking the next one would be at 10, but the feeling of a hot spot convinced me to go ahead and stop for lunch, after which I peeked at the offending foot.

More damned blisters. They're small, and I'm determined to keep them small, so I slapped some Moleskin on and headed home. This close to October, I figure not risking bigger and uglier blisters in more important than 5 miles that I have no doubt I can do.

Truly, I don't doubt it. and on the walk itself I'll Moleskin up and keep walking, but now is too close to that to risk it.

I fully intend to baby myself when I need to...plus, I kind of want to be able to walk the hills in SF on Tuesday. I'm hoping some liberal use of Witch hazel will dry those little suckers up by Monday night and I'll be good to go. I don't even have to be able to walk a huge long distance on Tuesday, just long enough to walk from the Bart station and hopefully meet up with DKM, then to Union Square where I will deposit the Spouse Thingy and spend a little time going up and down the inclinous streets around it.

No, I don't think "inclinous" is a real word. I probably justr made it up, but you know what I mean, and if everyone else adopts it, then it becomes a real word. So find ways to work it into your vocabulary, ok?

Great. You're aces.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

damn, I'm fast...

9-4-10

According to my Garmin, I did 16 miles at an average speed of 65 mph today, which might explain why my feet hurt.

I had GPS issues today; part of it due to where I was walking and the Garmin not being able to keep track of me all the time, and part of it due to me forgetting to pause it when I wasn't actually walking.

Like, when I was driving. Duh.

I decided to walk the nearby Factory Outlet stores today; I got there about half an hour before they opened, and people were slow to show up, so for my first two hours it was nice. I didn't have to dodge anyone or smell anyone's cigarette smoke or body funk. I was walking at a pretty good clip, but the Garmin kept losing the signal, so I have to go by time on that part of it. I was going at about a 19 minute mile pace, so I figure for those 2 hours I did 6 miles.

I went across the street to the other half of the Outlet after that, and the Garmin was able to find me. Four miles there, then I decided to get in the car and head towards home for the final 8 miles. When I got to the McD's parking lot--lunch frst--I realized I hadn't paused the GPS, and it had me smokin'...

The rest? Totally uneventful, other than the creepy guy on the bicycle who seemed to be (possibly not) following me. I noticed him when I was over by the big park; he'd pedal a little ahead of me, then stop and get off to fiddle with his chain. I'd cross the street to have distance between us, he'd pedal ahead and have more bike issues, I'd cross the street... on and on until I was on a well traveled street and there were lots of other people around. Oddly enough, I didn't see him after that. Go figure.

Do I know for sure he had ill intentions? Nope, but I trust my gut, and my gut told me to cross the freaking street every time he stopped to "fix" his chain (always on the side of the street I was waking on) and my gut told me to get where there were lots of people. The Gift of Fear, people...it's not just a book.

I used that as an excuse to stop for a few minutes for frozen yogurt, then finished the last 3 miles in the same small area, near McD's where the car was parked and where there were people. Just in case.

After I got home the Spouse Thingy peeled the solar cover off the pool and I floated for a while, and then he went to get me pizza.

Not a bad day :)

The key for me is, though, that while my feet hurt and I had a couple miles of an uncooperative hip, today's 18 wasn't bad at all. I'm not wiped out. And I'm not dreading tomorrow's 15. I just have to decide where I want to walk.

Friday, September 3, 2010

18 Delayed

9-3-10

The plan for today was 18 miles. The reality was insomnia last night topped off with lots heat today, so I'm delaying it until tomorrow. It's supposed to be a bit cooler, and with luck I'll fall asleep at a normal-people hour tonight so I'll be rested enough.

Not that I didn't walk today; I went over to the factory outlet stores in Vacaville and walked around there, trying to get a feel for the distance. Like the ├╝ber-intelligent person that I am, I forgot my GPS thingy, but I have a good feel now for how much distance I cover in a given time, and each side seems to be right around three quarters of a mile. So tomorrow, just to be different, I think I'll head over there to start walking. If I get bored, there's a whole lot of Vacaville I can wander around.

I'm weirdly looking forward to it. Maybe because it'll be somewhere different to walk, I don't know. All I know is that I'm not dreading it, and there are restrooms all over the freaking place! ;)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Countdown Begins...

9-1-10

Just one more month. This time a month from now, the first day of walking should be over, or close to it. I'm still scared to death about the whole thing, but my concerns have shifted.

I'm no longer worried about being able to walk 60 miles in 3 days. I'll either do it, or I won't. I'll either have to hop on the van that carts people from where they're at to the next pit stop, or I won't. My feet will hold up, or they won't.

I'm thinking the distance will be fine, and my feet will be fine. Which is why my brain is now drifting to some fairly valid concerns that I can do nothing about. Things that will either happen, or they won't.

Thumper + food + walking = bad idea, most of the time. In the TMI arena, you take someone with IBS characterized by the wonderfully medical sounding 'dumping syndrome,' stick food in them, and then have them do much of anything...well, you can surely imagine. It's not pretty. Breakfast and lunch will be problematic; even moreso if there are any mushrooms within sight of my food. Kiwi, mango, black olives...that would be unpleasant.

I don't want to walk 60 miles and then die because I didn't realize I was eating a mushroom.

(No worries for real..I don't get anaphylaxis, just really really sick...at least with the mushroom. Mango, that might kill me...)

Food issues in general...there are too many things I can eat but shouldn't because of the way they attack my gut. Whoever winds up in a tent with me better pray there are choices that don't require me to eat a banana. I love the damn things, but they do not love me in return.

Then there's the whole diabetes insipidus thing. The DDAVP I'm on right now, tablet form, doesn't work especially well--which normally for me is a good thing, because it means I don't wind up carrying an extra 10 pounds of fluid--so I'm always a little bit thirsty and pee like a pregnant woman. I plan in taking the nasal spray version with me, and that works really well. Too well. I won't feel thirsty and I won't pee as much as I probably should...and I'll hold onto too much water.

Chances are I'll end this walk 12-15 pounds heavier than when I start. That will not make me happy...I'll know it's water weight and it'll come off over the following 2-3 weeks, but still. How many people walk 60 miles and pork out? This people, that's who.

I have to admit, though, more than any worries popping up in my brain, I'm getting excited. I get to meet people! I get to annoy new people! I get to make new people look at each other and mutter, "WTF?"

That's always a good time. Yep ;)