Monday, March 29, 2010

Eleven Miles Today!

I left with my dad on Friday and headed to Johnson City, Tennessee, for the funeral of a cousin of mine. He  was 55,  and a summer playmate for many years, as our family vacation always consisted of a week in JC with my father's kin. Some things never change, and in the South, in both joy and sorrow, comfort is always found in FOOD!

Which is to say that I didn't get much walking in this weekend, although I did find time to walk around my dad's old high school, Science Hill, which has turned into a mega-campus and took an hour to walk around! So, to assuage my guilt, I decided that it was time to see how well I would fare in attempting two walking sessions similar to a day's walk on the Camino. After helping MB pack up some care packages for the deployed military in our church, I headed out to a favorite walk close by: Buttermilk Falls. That was a five-mile walk and it took me an hour and a half. I then went home and took a break for lunch. I meant it to be an hour, but catching up on email and getting the archeological society newsletter out...well, the break turned into two hours.

I then headed out for the six mile walk around my neighborhood. I managed it fine in two hours and ten minutes. That last quarter mile suddenly found my right knee protesting a little, but Natalie McMasters fiddled her way into my gait and I stomped and jigged up heartbreak hill, which I purposely placed at the end of my course.

So, I am complacently sitting before the computer with a large and well-deserved glass of bourbon in my hand. This coming Saturday is the Papa John Ten Miler race which I have signed up for. I have to do an eighteen minute mile for 10 miles, if I want to finish before the race closes. (How's that for a goal? Just get done before they close the course!) No break, either! Can I do it? Solo el tiempo lo dira!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Compeed, I Love You!

A very strange thing happened last week. I was out on my usual walk, with my usual backpack, in my usual boots and socks, on a usual day, when, about two miles into the walk, I began to feel the dreaded hotspot on the ball of my right foot. I remembered what the pilgrims say about attending to it immediately, so I stopped and searched in my first aid supplies for some blister protection. I had purchased some little band-aid type things with a gel pad in the center made just for blisters, and so I found one, applied it to the hotspot, and proceeded on my way. Before long, however, the pain of a blister started to accompany my every step. I decided to soldier on, knowing that more than likely this will happen on the Camino and I'll just have to learn to deal with it.
       When I got home and took my boots off, the puny little blister protector had come off, and a full-fledged blister was there. The next day, I was scheduled to walk a 5K in Louisville, as the first leg in the "Triple Crown" leading up to the mini-marathon in April. What to do? The next morning I applied moleskin but the pain was my friend for the whole walk. Nonetheless, I met another walker, a very interesting lady who made books; that is, she handcrafted her own paper and bound it in handcrafted covers. And she was on her way in a couple of weeks to serve coffee to participants at the end of the Iditarod. There are so many interesting people in the world!
      Anyway, when I got home, I was determined to find a source for that miracle mentioned by many pilgrims. It is a British product called Compeed. I found out that Johnson and Johnson in the US had bought the rights to the technology, so I thought surely a pharmacy would carry it. I went to Walgreens and found it. It is called Tough Pads, and they are expensive: about $5.00 each, but if they work, they will be worth their weight in gold. (Well, they are very light, but still...)
      I slapped one on, and believe me, they are technological miracles! I could walk without pain; it stayed on through showers, walking and a sauna, for three days. By the fourth day, it was starting to come off. I peeled it off. It did not stick to the skin and the blister was gone.
      The mystery still remains as to why that blister popped up out of nowhere, but I am glad because now I am ready for them. My first aid kit will be replete with them for myself and other blister-prone pilgrims I may meet along the way.