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July 4, 2017

We have been training for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk (26.2 miles) on September 24th for over a month now, but I have been dreading today’s session.

I’m on the back nine of a summer cold, complete with a runny nose, sore throat, and cough.  We’re just back from a three day beach vacation.  And, due to weather and travel, we’ve missed two consecutive “long walks.”

At this stage of training, a long walk for us is either 6.4 miles (FitBit), 8.4 miles (Garmin) or 12.5 miles (iphone) within a three hour time frame.  We walk close to a fifteen minute mile so we’re inclined to believe the iphone.  Our long walks will ramp up eventually hitting a max of twenty miles.  Our short walks are usually four miles.

We have chosen July 4th (a Tuesday) for our long walk for a few reasons.  It’s in the middle of our vacation and there is not much going on that day (loyal readers of this blog may remember that we did a daylong cleanse last year on this date, to largely disastrous results).  Our normal long walk day is Saturday, and this week we have a contractor doing some work on our house that morning.

The final, but perhaps most important, reason for walking on a holiday is the traffic noise will be greatly reduced.  At least we hope it will be.  A good portion of our walk is on the busiest road in town, and, at its loudest, we can’t even talk to each other.

We get off to an inauspicious start.  We leave at 6:39, an hour later than the latest time we’ve ever started and two hours from the earliest.  We’re on vacation; what’s the rush?  It’s sixty-two degrees but there is enough humidity in the air for us to wear shorts and short sleeves.  But the route is also mostly in full sun, and I don’t think to wear sunglasses, a hat, or sunscreen.

Physically, I’ve been able to walk 11-12 miles without too much trouble.  After the first couple of long walks, my quads were sore, but a quick set of stretches before has taken care of that.  I experimented once with a different set of sneakers.  My asics were too roomy and made even walking downhill uncomfortable so I have reverted back to my Hokas, which I also use for running.  The worst part is trying to tackle any physical tasks after walking for three hours.

On this day, I have no discomfort, save for some minor pain where the top of my left foot meets the ankle.  It’s more like a foot cramp, but one that you don’t even need to get out of bed for.  On the two killer hills near the end, you can hear our breathing and our bones crackling, but that’s nothing new.

Although finishing by the relatively early hour of 9:30, I can feel a sunburn on the back of my neck.  It’s not bad, but I would have worn sunscreen had I been thinking of it.  And when did we stop calling it “sun tan lotion” and start calling it “sunscreen”?

My spouse did this walk last year, and she says it is way more mental than physical.  Walking into the house after twelve miles, I have to agree.  A couple of months from now, this won’t even be the halfway point.

What events have you trained for?   Please leave a comment…