As you know I am training for this charity walk in the beginning of September. The walk will require that I walk between 30 and 32 km in a single day. There is no time limit, of course, but the laws of physics apply, so the faster one walks, the faster one finishes.
I went from not being able to walk half a block without having to stop (before I began working out) to my current fitness level where a three mile walk (about an hour's walking) is no problem at all. Last weekend the Nerd and I did two training walks, one 6.5 miles, and one 7 miles, and I could handle each with little difficulty. I got a little tired near the end of each walk, but overall I felt pretty good.
But today's training plan called for a 12.5 mile walk. That's more than double my longest planned walk from last weekend, and easily the longest that I had ever walked in my entire life. Not cumulatively, of course (although it certainly felt like it).
I was feeling fine up until around mile 8 (which, to be clear, is still to that point the longest that I had ever walked in a single stretch in my life). Then my hip flexor started to ache on the right side, my feet started to hurt, and my back started to tighten up - - it was as if my entire lower body decided that it had had enough walking, all at once. Two and a half years ago I would have felt like this just crossing the street, and now it takes 8 miles for it to happen - - things are definitely looking up!
So I have to say that I wanted to stop walking pretty much the entire last 4 and a half miles. Every step hurt, and I must have looked like a zombie lurching down the street at some points. I took a couple of short breaks just to try and ease up on the legs a bit, but I did not stop. I walked and I walked and I walked and then I finished. 12.7 miles all in all, in 3:54:53.
I did not stop and I did achieve my training objective for today of walking 12.5 miles. And although my legs are on fire and my feet are sore and it will take a bloody act of will to get out of bed to do it all over again tomorrow, I am very proud of myself for pushing through and doing the full distance.
I know that it will get easier over time, and pretty soon 10 miles will feel like nothing (at least I fervently hope so). I walk 4 times a week, and week by week I will get stronger and stronger. This is literally the worst that I should feel during my training, because this is the toughest fitness:distance ratio in the entire training plan.
So I have taken a few Advil, and the Nerd and I are going to have a drink on the roof and look at the lake and relax and congratulate ourselves on our walk. I think a little self-congratulations are in order here.