There's only three weeks until the Avon Walk; that means it's crunch time. I'm spending a lot (and sometimes A LOT) of time each day either training or fundraising. This past Friday I walked 20 miles. Saturday I spent much of the day standing in Wal-Mart asking for donations. Sunday I walked 9 miles. And today I spent hobbling around the house, sending out e-mails to just about everyone I know asking for donations, and then taking a hot, hot bath to sooth my aching, aching hips.
A lot of people have asked me questions about walking 20 miles. What's it like? How long does it take? So I thought I'd document it for posterity. You know, in case I get the crazy idea to do this walk again next year. :) This will be a long post without photos, sorry!
As I mentioned in my last post, I got a late start on Friday to head out for 20 miles. But I was happy to have my new pedometer watch and my new mp3 player loaded up with all the songs that had been on my old one (both of which went "missing" when my luggage was inspected by the TSA). I skipped my training walks the weekend before because we were at Wal-Mart fundraising Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So I was making a big jump to walk 15 miles and 7 miles and then two weeks later walk 20 miles and 9 miles, but I really wanted to get back on track on the training schedule, so off I headed.
My route is really boring; I walk on the bike path that runs alongside a parkway, just down and back. There's not a lot to look at, but I can also just kind of zone out since I don't have to worry about making (or missing) any turns or putting my life on the line crossing big intersections full of cell-phone yakking drivers.
After my hectic week it was kind of nice to walk and only have to focus on the music and putting one foot in front of the other. I'm a math geek so I was happy to see that I'd calibrated my watch correctly so that when I reached crossroads that I knew to be a certain distance from home the watch said I'd gone that distance. And I was staying right at my normal pace of 4 miles per hour.
The first 10 miles were great. I felt good, my pace was good. At about mile 6 I had this weird experience where I suddenly felt in my body in a new way that I don't remember ever feeling last year during training. I felt strong and really tall, which is weird since I'm not really tall! I think it had something to do with my lower back being out of whack, so everything felt different than it usually does.
Two and a half hours after starting I got to the ten mile "marker." It's always good to hit the halfway point where I can turn around and start heading back home!
At mile 10.5 I had to cross the street so while I was waiting for the light to change I stretched a little and danced, I'm sure much to the amusement of the waiting cars. But it was The Ting Tings "Shut Up and Let Me Go," you can't not dance to that song, I'm telling you!
At mile 11 I stopped by the 7-11 to use the restroom and buy a LifeWater since I drank all of the water I brought with me. Then I ate the energy bar I'd brought.
By mile 12 I was getting tired. So when Destiny's Child "I'm a Survivor" came on, I sang along outloud, forced myself to keep my strides long, and then replayed it four times in a row.
By about mile 13 I was really thinking that walking 20 miles was a very, very bad idea. I just focused on getting through to mile 15, an easy marker since it's a bridge across a river.
At the river I realized that I was only 75% done and now I was really tired so the last 25% would be, by far, the hardest. The front of my shins were hurting, especially when I walked downhill. So I bent my knees and did a weird low walk to help ease it whenever I went downhill. I was still keeping up a pretty good pace, only about 30 seconds more per mile over the standard 15 minutes.
By mile 16 I was thinking of calling Jason to come and pick me up. The sun was going down, the clouds had rolled in, and I was hurting. I felt my face for some reason--maybe an itch--and it was gritty from the sweat that had dried on my skin. I made a mental note to put some wet-wipes in my bag next time.
When I got to mile 17 I decided to slow down--screw the 4 mph pace, I just wanted to walk the whole thing. About that time I felt that my sock was bunched up around my baby toe on my right foot. I knew I should stop and take off my shoe and readjust it, but I also knew that if I stopped and sat down I would not get back up, and I'd end up calling Jason and having him come pick me up. Momentum was the only thing keeping me going.
At mile 18 I had to cross a big intersection and go up and down curbs. My legs were so unreliable that I wobbled doing anything other than walking straight ahead. I imagined that people had driven out of town past me, ran errands for four hours, and then drove past me again on their way home, and I wondered what they would think I was doing!
I kept trying to keep my pace up, just so that I'd get home faster. If a song came on that wasn't one of the most high-energy songs I hit "next." A vision of the Soup Nazi came into my head: "No slow for you! Next!" Obviously, I was starting to hallucinate. :)
As I turned the corner onto our street I heard a motorcycle rev up and a second later Jason came around the bend. I can only imagine the look I gave him! I was thinking, "Where the hell do you think you're going? I'm going to need you in about two minutes to take care of me!" Apparently that was all written all over my face because he turned around as soon as he could and pulled up next to me. "I was coming to cheer you on! Good job, Baby!" :)
One of the neighbors was outside with his grandson, who was checking out Jason's motorcycle. I said hello and headed straight inside to hit the couch, but just before I went in the garage door I heard Jason tell him, "I have to go inside now to take care of her." The little boy must have asked why, because then Jason said, "Because I'm the husband!" Ha ha ha! Good answer. :)
I plopped on the couch, 5 hours and 11.5 minutes after I'd left. Jason brought me a good dark beer and a bottle of Advil. When I got up a while later to take a shower, I was really stiff and sore. Jason looked at me in wonder and said, "You're almost, like, totally broken."
I had a blister on my baby toe and also one on the back of my heel. After my shower I put on my favorite sock monkey pajamas (they're pink flannel!) and went back to the couch for the rest of the night. Jason and I watched Baby Mama, which was the perfect funny no-brainer.
When my alarm went off on Saturday morning it was raining, which made it even harder to get out of bed than my sore legs did. But I got ready and headed back to Wal-Mart to fundraise with my team. Luckily they let us set up inside since it was raining, but it was really hard to stand on those hard floors all day! If I didn't move around enough my legs would stiffen up and I'd just about fall over if I tried to squat down to grab something, or move sideways to get out of someone's way. But we did pretty well and sold almost all of our little goodies we had for suggested donation amounts.
I still managed to run a few necessary errands on the way home and then once I'd been home and found a recipe online, to head back out to the grocery store for ingredients for a side dish for the next day. Jason didn't feel like eating the soup I'd made on Friday to get us through the weekend, and I didn't have the energy to argue with him, so I just asked him what he wanted from the store since I was going anyway. "Oh, I don't know, chicken strips from the deli, or sushi, or pizza...." I came home with six deviled eggs, six pieces of sushi, and boneless wings. This is the kind of thing that seems perfectly reasonable when you're completely exhausted. :)
Getting out of bed on Sunday was a lot easier. I got up, cleaned the kitchen, boiled the potatoes I'd need later so they could cool while I walked, changed into my gear, and headed out. And I must say, I ROCKED the nine miles! I was still a little stiff and sore but loosened up through the walk and I kept my pace up and felt great! I finished up the side dish (red potato, asparagus, and artichoke salad), hopped in the shower and prettied myself up, and we headed over to Andrea and Scott's for an early Easter dinner.
My hips were really sore when I woke up on Monday, which is unusual for me, and I think is related to my lower back being out when I walked (time to head to the chiropractor!). What was really weird is that they didn't hurt when I was walking up or down the stairs, only when I was walking on flat ground. Weird. I took a long, long, hot, hot bath and that helped ease things.
This coming weekend I get to do it all over again, but with 22 miles + 10 miles. I'm trying not to think about it too much. :)
And if you think this post was long, try walking 20 miles. :)