13 Down and 13 To Go!

Neva here-

It's just a short 13 weeks until the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in San Fransisco! I can't believe how the time has flown. I started training and fundraising nearly 26 weeks ago and I can tell you that I had no idea how life consuming it would be, especially now since the big 10+ mile walks on Saturdays and Sundays have begun....EEK!

I have learned a few things these past weeks...about myself and about walking. Try spending a few hours each day with nothing but your thoughts...it's enlightening.

First, music: I thought for certain my ipod would keep me occupied, but after about 4-5 miles I can't stand those things in my ears any more (one side is broken which just makes things worse). And in those 4-5 miles my music needs change, too. I'm good with about 2 and a half miles of AC/DC at the beginning, just to get me moving. Then I switch to some country around mile 3 and by mile 5 the contemporary Hawaiian channel on my Pandora app is just perfect. After that, those earbuds come out and it's the beautiful sound of the birds that keeps me going.

Second, of course that's when the thinking begins and I start concentrating on stupid things. Like my backpack isn't fitting and I really need to go shopping for a new one. Which is so not true. I LOVE my backpack. I got it in Hawaii and it's just one big sack. It's comfortable and holds everything. But during this point in the walk I can find fault with just about everything I own in my walking life, from my brand new shoes to which kleenex I have in my bag to blow my nose. This is really just me looking for an excuse to go shopping.  I try to march through this thought pattern quickly.

But I could go on for ages about what goes through my mind during the long walks, but it's boring really. So I'll just list a few things I've learned:

1. I split up the long walks. Last week on Sunday I did 9 miles...4 in the morning and 5 in the evening. This probably won't work so well when I get to those really long 15+ mile walks, but for the 8-15 miles it's a good strategy for me. And in this heat (it was roughly 100 last Sunday) it's probably the only way to do it. Today I'm walking 10 miles so I'll do 5 this morning and 5 this evening. It keeps me out of the sun and it's easier on my feet.

2. After my little trip to the hospital two months ago, I bring nothing but Propel or Gatorade on my walks. The heat here can be weighing and water just doesn't cut it. I also carry walnuts. For some reason those little guys give me a good amount of energy.

3. Tight clothes, nothing loose. Seriously, loose clothes are crap. They rub in all the wrong spots. I never, in all my life thought I could get chaffing on my calves from my little cropped walking pants. The legs of those things are loose and the bottom brushes-up against my legs when I'm walking. Talk about obnoxious.

4. Ice, even if you don't think you need to. When doing several long walks back-to back, my muscles and especially my tendons ache something awful. I've found that icing my calves and Achilles tendons helps  A LOT! Much more than popping ibuprofen. I even ice my feet, which in the heat and after a long walk feels fantastic!

5. I have had more people ask me if it was me they saw walking while they were driving. I really need to take advantage of this. A flag or a sign to wear during each walk with my fundraising info. I just have to figure a good way to do it.

So these are just a few things I've learned in my 13 weeks of training. With 13 more to go and then the big weekend in October, I'm bound to learn more. This has been honestly a wonderful experience. True, it's just walking, but it's also so much more than that.



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