by Elle Cyre
Many thoughts on how writing has influenced my life.
|I walked 21 miles recently; 21 miles in one day, starting at 7 am and finishing around 3:30 pm. If you factor in the rest stops and the lunch break, I'd estimate the average speed around 2.8 mph.
I didn't think I could do it. Well, obviously I did or otherwise I wouldn't have signed up for it, but I didn't realize it would be so hard. I'm not in the best shape of my life and I wore the wrong socks, so, I ended up with some nasty blisters by mile 7. I ended up walking every step of the last 14 miles but my feet were so tender, so painful, that it hurt when I stepped on a stray pebble or sharp rock. There was no respite. I could feel the liquid of the blisters between my toes. It was horrible.
But I made it. Never in my mind did I consider dropping out or taking a bus ride to the finish. I was going to complete it even if it meant my feet were bloody by the end of it. They weren't; my little toe was blistered to twice its size but that was the worst of it. Well, that and the sunburn. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky and I wasn't wearing any sunscreen.
Maybe I wouldn't have finished if my friends hadn't been along. They did just fine. Neither of them ended up with any terrible blisters and they kept walking and walking and walking as if they were just on a sunny stroll. I couldn't keep up with them the last 3 miles. I just couldn't match their blistering pace (pun intended). My legs were just as sore as my feet. I had muscles hurting that I didn't even know I had.
That night was just as painful as the walk. I didn't stretch, out of pure exhaustion, so you can imagine what my body felt like after a long bus ride back to the car and the drive back to the hotel. I couldn't move. Again, my friends were ahead of me and through the entrance door while I'm staggering like a drunken woman. My knees seized up and practically every other muscle and joint in my lower body. Thankfully there was an elevator because there was no way I could have climbed several flights of stairs.
The next morning was almost just as bad. In addition to my legs and feet being sore, my back and neck were stiff from carrying the heavy backpack. And then, of course, I was terribly sunburned on my face, neck and arms and on top of that, I had started out with a sore wrist which had gotten worse and my whole arm swelled up.
Yeah...fun times. My friends were a little sore and a little sunburned but they recovered within a day. I felt like a complete wimp next to them, moaning and groaning as I tried to walk a couple feet and complaining about my aching wrist and my cheek and ear on fire with sunburn and my bandaged feet.
The one question I asked myself over and over again, during that walk, was: 'is it just me?' I didn't understand how everyone else was moving along at such a pace with apparently no difficulty. I figured they had to have sore feet too and sore legs. Why were they able to cope with the pain so much better than I was? Here I was close to tears and angry at myself for being such a wimp. They could take it; why couldn't I?
I mentioned having blisters to my friends during the walk but I didn't say how bad, because I figured they had them as well. Afterward they were full of sympathy but that didn't answer my question: 'was it just me?' I want to know! How much pain were they in and how well did they hide it? I guess it's just my pride getting the better of me. I'm ashamed that I had so much trouble and whined and complained about it afterward and basked in their sympathy while they remained silent about their own difficulties.
Although at the end of the walk I wasn't considering doing it again, I might just to do it again next year. I'll try to be in better shape, of course, and wear the right socks and some sunscreen.