Recovery

I actually wrote this yesterday, Tuesday, but somehow put it in my drafts folder instead of the published folder.   Today is better still, after a massage yesterday afternoon (ouch!)

Also, a link to a few more photos from the walk

Yesterday, I was pleased  to realize my body felt okay.   A little weary, but that’s to be expected (especially given the week of travel before the walk itself).  Training works, as CR said.  Only sore muscles are on the front of my ankles and a little in my hamstrings.  Stretching also works.

I gave the dogs a short walk yesterday, which loosened things up a little, but afterward, I had to take a little nap.  Today, I gave them their full walk and an hour later, my arms are still shaky.  Still haven’t built the glycogen stores back up.  Honestly, I doubt it there would be so much fatigue if I were not also recoverying from a week of teaching very intensely. 

Luckily, the creative centers are firing happily and the girls sent up a really gorgeous bit of decoration for the MIP, one I hadn’t seen coming.   They really did just want to go sit on the beach that day, I guess.

I’m eating watermelon and drinking tons of water.  I have, however, seen enough of my pal Gatorade for a bit. 

 

Avon Walk…at last!

Starting out, morning #2 This is me, starting out this morning in Dillon, Colorado on the second leg of the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in the Rocky Mountains. As you can see, the scenery was well worth every single step, all by itself.

Far more worthwhile were the stories I heard along the way, and the tags I read on the backs of other walkers: This is for my mother. Sister. Best friend. Myself. “The beautiful brown-haired woman walking next to me.”

Miles walked: 39

Blisters: 3

Sunburn: none, since I took care of my high-altitude sunburn much earlier in the season. :) Excruciating sunburns I saw on pale skin unused to this sunshine: many

Pictures I erased because I thought I looked too fat for public consumption: 5

Women I met who had had double mastectomies, thereby making me ashamed of ever worrying about how I look instead of how healthy I am: 3

Favorite sign: Big or small, save ’em all, which just made me giggle for ages

New friends I made on the walk: 5

Fundraising total: $1936, largely due to you, all of you out there in blog land and reader land. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

The story of the weekend:

As we approached the finish line, a young woman next to me said, “This is your first walk, right?” I said it was. She smiled and said, “don’t be surprised if you cry.”

I think I was too tired to cry right then, honestly. I wasn’t thinking about anything except the ice cream they promised was waiting at the end, and taking off my shoes and finally going home to sleep in my own bed after almost ten days on the road.

But now, as I try to sort through the images, the moments, the stories that will somehow sum up what this is all about, I find myself enormously emotional and overwhelmed. I think of the woman, with her spiked, streaked hair, who was walking in front of me at one point. We started talking. She told me about her sister, Cookie, and said today would have been her birthday, if she had not died of breast cancer seven years ago in her early 40s.

I am an athletic person and in love with walking, and this was hard work for me. So I was deeply moved by women I saw who were struggling to finish the first five miles, much less all of them. That takes courage and bravery and a lot of fortitude. There were athletes, too, stringy and strong, powering through, encouraging others to keep going, keep moving, believe. A woman of nearly 70 has now walked almost 100 walks and raised 3 MILLION dollars. Imagine how many lives her efforts have prolonged or saved.

Tonight, I am exhausted and my dog is not leaving my foot until he makes sure I’m not leaving again soon. But this was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and I will be doing it again next year. I hope some of you will think about doing it yourself.

And again, thank you so much for your support. Next year, I’ll find other sources. :)

Avon walk and a critique offer

The Avon walk is in two weeks, and I would love to raise just a little more.  Everyone has been enormously generous, and I knew I could count on you all to help with this cause.  Thanks for listening to my training logs and my little whines.  To make a direct donation, go here.

Everyone knows I almost never offer critiques of manuscripts.  It’s mainly a time issue, but I’m going to break that rule and offer three critiques of two chapters and a synopsis, or 35 pages.   If you get win the auction and get the pages to me before July 5, I promise you’ll have it back in time for the RWA conference (if that is important to you), or within a month. 

Check back later today for the actual auction announcement, which I’ll conduct through ebay.  And feel free to tell anyone you think might want to bid.  

Now to the training log:
This weekend: 33 miles; 23 Saturday, 10 on Sunday (hooray!).  For the week: 38.

My friend Renate walked with me on Saturday.  It’s the first time I’ve had a companion on the long walk, and it made the time go by so much faster.  We talked about positive thinking and our upcoming trips (hers to Germany, mine to Australia) and sang folks songs, mostly to each other since she is German and we didn’t know many of the same songs, except “The Saints Go Marching In.”  She sang me songs in German, about her village and valley in Bavaria, and then I sang some songs from my childhood, Olayomakeo (I have no idea how that is spelled), about a girl who never wants to get married, and she sang a song I knew as “The Apple Dumpling Song” from Suzuki practice when my boys were learning violin and cello. 

The German songs and translations made me remember going to the VFW with my friend Sally to hear her brother and sister play in the band.  She would translate the songs, all of them bloody and sad (“this one is about a man who killed his wife and lover, then followed them to heaven, where he killed them again.”) When I told Renate, she said, “oh yes, kitchen songs!” and sang a song about a boy who went looking for Edelweiss to win his fair love’s heart, and died bringing it back.  

 She got a blister from a walking sandal and we rigged up a special bandage out of bandaids and tissues, which made me remember all the things I have learned by training.   Which socks to wear, which hat, which pack I want to carry, which one makes my shoulders ache.   By the end, we were both tired and giddy, but vowing to walk Pikes Peak in July. 

Yesterday was my last long training walk before the taper.  I went to Rampart Reservoir, and it was so beautiful I had to take pictures for you, even if they are lousy cell phone shots.  This is a STUNNING spot.  Aspens shaking pale green coin leaves above white bark, dark Ponderose pines, the forest floor starred with wild iris and something that looks like yellow sweet peas.  The water is extraordinarily clear, so in some places, you can see the red boulders just below the surface, like a table for mermaids. 

I’d never been there before, but I can tell you I will be back to hike the circle.  Soon!

 

 

You just put one foot in front of the other

25 days until the Rocky Mountain Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.   Two things make this event a little different:  it’s the first “destination” event, and it’s being held in a breathtakingly beautiful spot in the Colorado Rockies.  Keystone to Dillon to Breckenridge (for those who know the area.)   And there is an “altitude checkpoint” at 13.1 miles the first day.   Not worried about that part (did you know that babies born at high altitudes grow larger lungs?) but I expect there will be some people who have trouble. 

I am beginning to really look forward to it.  To seeing the people who are there, who are walking, as I am.  Who they are walking for.  Why they are walking. 

I haven’t been posting walking logs, mainly because there just has not been time.  But trust me, I’ve been training.  And…well, just walking.   Rather than sum up my mileage for the past month, here are a few highlights:

Longest walk so far: 20 miles.   My feet definitely hurt by the end, but they were fine the next day. The big problem is boredom.  It takes a long time to walk 20 miles and there you are, walking along. And walking along.  And walking along.  Listening to music is good, but I get tired of that, too.  The vistas are beautiful, of course, but how many hours can you really look at the same exact view of Pikes Peak? 

Coolest walk: Three weeks ago, CR was orienteering in Buena Vista and I decided to walk from the town up into the mountains to the site of the start.   It was about 9 miles, not that far, but let me tell you–I was pretty freaked out for some of it.  All alone.  Mostly on roads, and there were cyclists every now and then, but there I was, walking and walking.   I was giddy with the glee of not being dead by the time I arrived at the site, and very proud of myself for doing it.

Also, I have to admit, it was fun.  And really pretty.  Also, I received an entire book idea, so being on foot by yourself is sometimes a good thing. 

Best City Walk:  Chelsea to Central Park to Zabars–again, not so many miles, though somehow it shocks me that the entire island of Manhattan is only 8 miles tip to toe.  It feels much farther.   I never get tired of walking the city, though.  There is something to see every single block. Something odd or beautiful or gritty or sick.   Something. 

Hardest walk: like idiots, my hiking buddies and I headed up to Pancake Rocks last weekend. Not dressed properly.  Too early in the season (though you wouldn’t think so in MAY).   6 miles.  Freezing.  Windy.   11,000 feet and boy did my legs feel it by the end!  But we felt pretty buff at the end and it was a good excuse to drink beer, so that’s never a bad thing. 

The pitch:  I am almost to my goal.  Short just under $400.   If you wish to contribute, you can do so here.       I hope you’ll consider it.

Not sure what to do with all this training after the walk.   Any ideas?  Seems a shame to waste it with a whole summer to go!

 

A scramble of tidbits….or something like that

I will admit it: I am drinking beer.  Not even fancy beer.  Ordinary, American lite beer from a bottle, which is definitely in my top twenty favorite things.  Not American, necessarily, just beer in general.

Walked 19.5 miles today, on my training quest.  Highest mileage so far, and I weirdly enjoyed it.   (I am, however, paying for it right this minute.  Little ows, here and there.  It was a little cold today and I was underdressed.)   This trail goes right through the middle of my childhood-looping beside the place where we rode our bikes, where I walked to elementary school, down through the park where I had clandestine meetings with the boy I was not allowed to see, and then by the apartment block where my parents lived when I was a baby.

So, the brain is gone and I have only random things to offer.

Best movie this week: Away From Her, which I expected to be wretchedly depressing and is the exact opposite.  Beautiful love story.

Best book I’ve read this month:  Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos.   Charming and rich and wonderful.  Don’t miss it.

Best news I’ve heard in awhile: my friend Jo Beverley made the New York Times top ten for the first time this month.  And then she stayed on the list for FOUR weeks, thus far.

Training log, avon walk

Miles today: 16

Miles this week:  34

Ipod on shuffle, and heard things I didn’t even know were on there.

Feet are sore tonight for no reason I can name, except maybe just being on them a lot.   I ran out of water for the first time ever.  And I saw a lilac bush leafing out!

The pitch: I have committed to raising $2500 by end of June. 33% there. YOU GUYS ROCK! Thank you.

It isn’t a sponsorship, but direct donations to each walker’s tally. The money goes to many areas of assistance to breast cancer patients and their families–for example, helping provide screening and care for women who are under- or uninsured, a cause about which I am passionate. You can see my tally and goals here. Or if you feel moved to donate, you can do so, here.

The disclaimer: We all have things we care about and no one can give to everything, in time or money.

Lilacs with Pikes Peak in background taken with cell phone camera

Showing up, showing up, showing up

It’s already Wednesday and I haven’t posted the training log from the weekend. Here it is, because I promised myself I would post it every week, to be true to the process of observation and training.

Training log for last week:

Truth: I took Saturday off because I was tired and sick of having something I had to do every single day. CR and I went to the metaphysical fair and someone read cards for me, which was fun. It turned out not to be my reading, but for one of my children, which was funny and weird, especially when that child called me five minutes later.

Sunday, I knew I had to go for 15 miles again. Not in the mood from the first, and less so after I heard a dynamic speaker was giving a program at Unity and I would have to miss it. Humph. But there is it–training is training. It’s not for anyone else but for me. I want to enjoy myself on that long walk, not die in pain and exhaustion at the end of it. I layered my clothes, filled up the Camelbak and off I went. Without earphones to start with, just listening to the day and the quiet. Not fun. I was bored. I was not in the mood. I bargained that I would only walk to eight–just eight, just do that much.

But around mile 2, something happened. My body warmed up. It was happy to have had a day of rest. I had a great breakfast (buckwheat pancakes, strawberries, soy sausages) and it kicked in just right, giving me energy and a good mood. By mile 3, I was hitting my stride and glad to be out and started listening to music. Arrived at the turn around point feeling pretty great, and I had the trail to myself quite a lot.

I would have taken a rest for lunch at mile 9, but the bench was taken up by a family with malamutes who were panting hard in the hot day. I did finally rest for ten minutes at mile 10, and aired out my feet. By mile 12, I was feeling it, and the final two seemed about three times longer than they were. By the time I returned home, I was starving, weary, and not up for anything but mindless television. I asked CR, “why are those two extra miles so much harder?” He just shook his head, wise endurance athlete, and said, “that’s just how it is sometimes.”

The next day, to stick with the training, I had to get out for the 7 miles, and to my great relief, it was fine.

All good information.

Miles this week: 25 (Sunday to Sunday). Long walk, 15; next day, 7.

On the Ipod: not a lot this time. I liked the sound of the river and the birds. Even the cyclists whoooooossssshhhhhinnnng by.

Snacks: Gu, a Luna bar, a bagel on the rest. Discovered that I do not like the tablet additions to my camelbak. Water is fine.

The pitch: I have committed to raising $2500 by end of June. 33% there. YOU GUYS ROCK! Thank you.

It isn’t a sponsorship, but direct donations to each walker’s tally. The money goes to many areas of assistance to breast cancer patients and their families–for example, helping provide screening and care for women who are under- or uninsured, a cause about which I am passionate. You can see my tally and goals here. Or if you feel moved to donate, you can do so, here.

The disclaimer: We all have things we care about and no one can give to everything, in time or money.

29 miles this week

A little late getting my log up this week.  Really busy day yesterday.   Finally managed to get two, back-to-back long walks in, one Saturday at 12 miles, one Sunday at around 6, a good hard climbing hike with my friend Renate.   We haven’t been able to hike much this winter and it was fantastic. The Saturday walk allowed me to work out some snags in the current plot and I’m feeling very happy about the book this morning.  Sisters are hard because I have sisters.  You think that would make it easier, wouldn’t you?  It is fun, but it’s also challenging.   

Miles this week: 29.5.   And to my great amazement, I lost weight, even eating a lot and drinking beer with my friends.

On the Ipod:  On the way out, the exercise loop, which I should post if I ever find time.  Some of you might like it, too.   On the way back, it was all Patty Griffin, which lodged a couple of brilliant lines in my head: “Even I’m getting tired of useless desires,” and “Things I’ve done, I can never undo.”  And my favorite song of the moment about a trapeze girl: she came to the show on the back of a horse, just seventeen and already divorced.”  Also, considering it was the anniversary of MLK’s death, I liked singing along with Up to the Mountain.  

Snacks: Gu, a Luna bar, and one orange.  Gu works, man.  It just does.

The pitch: I have committed to raising $2500 by June.  I’m 21% of the way there.

It isn’t a sponsorship, but direct donations to each walker’s tally. The money goes to many areas of assistance to breast cancer patients and their families–for example, helping provide screening and care for women who are under- or uninsured, a cause about which I am passionate. You can see my tally and goals here.     Or if you feel moved to donate, you can do so, here.

The disclaimer: We all have things we care about and no one can give to everything, in time or money.

15 miles is so much longer than 13

Long walk day.  Almost five hours, including one small rest to eat an English muffin spread with Marmite and take off my socks for a few minutes.    I am somehow so much more tired than I was last week–it seems impossible it was only two miles more than last week’s walk.

Discovery: eating on the trail doesn’t really agree with me.  Only Gu and water.  Maybe a little bit of banana.  But a person can’t walk 8 hours or more without eating, so I’m going to have to figure it out.   Marmite is a weird and disgusting substance, but I remembered that it tasted excellent to me at the top of Pikes Peak, so I tried it today.  Weirdly, it tasted very good at hour #3.

It was still great.  There is no feeling I like better than the salty, sweaty buzz at the end of a long, long walk or hike.    Though really, it would be nice if I were suddenly rewarded with a 20-lb weight loss.  Doesn’t that seem fair? Long hike, show the universe you are earnest and devoted, and voila!  Instantly thinner!

Miles this week: 26 (not counting whatever I get in tomorrow)  This is a lot more than last week.  No wonder I’m tired.  And there won’t BE any miles tomorrow, so there.

On the Ipod:  Bel Canto for the first hour or so, then a switch to the classical playlist on my Ipod, which consists entirely of various Baroque strings and the odd waltz.  Lots of Marin Marais today, and some music from the dashing and heartbreaking Joseph Boulogne, the  Chevalier St. George, who is the person in history I remain most in love with.  (You may recognize him in Gabriel St. Ives, yes?)

Snacks: 1 Gu, an orange, English muffin with Marmite, one banana.

The pitch: I have committed to raising $2500 by June. It isn’t a sponsorship, but direct donations to each walker’s tally. The money goes to helping provide screening and care for women who are under- or uninsured, a cause about which I am passionate. If you feel moved to donate, you can do so, here.

The disclaimer: We all have things we care about and no one can give to everything, in time or money.

xoxo,

Barbara