5,000 Miles Revisited

Sorry, but I want to talk about this some more.

I’m not proud of a lot of things I’ve done in my life. I’ve “accomplished” “things,” but none of them have really meant all that much, either to me or to others or to anyone.

But these 5,000 miles? I’m proud of it.

Listen. I am Captain Mediocrity when it comes to everything other than being 1) a stubborn bastard and 2) punishing my body because it’s a piece of trash. Walking 5,000 miles this year allowed me to combine both of these lovely talents.

While I will probably never see another year that was more ideal for achieving this goal than this one, there still were a lot of obstacles that tried their hardest to prevent said goal from being met. I had to stubbornly ignore or actively fight against these obstacles.

The main one was the weather. It was ridiculously cold at the beginning of this year (mainly in January and February). As in, “it’s dangerous to be outside for more than 10 minutes at a time” type of cold. There were a lot of painfully cold walks, one walk where I was sure I lost my toe inside my shoe due to frostbite, and a good number of days where I had to spend four hours on a treadmill to get my daily miles without dying in the cold.

Then the summer got ridiculously hot. “Ridiculously hot” for Calgary is like in the 80s, but when you’re walking 15 – 30 miles a day, that’s hot. I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go walking before the heat of the day set in and the sun hit its peak. 4:30 IN THE MORNING. THAT’S USUALLY WHEN I GO TO BED.

Not to mention the smoke from the wildfires. There were a decent number of days where I probably should not have been out walking for 4+ hours due to the air quality, but I did it anyway. Again: stubborn bastard + body punishment.

Another obstacle was time. A 15-mile walk takes me about 3.25 hours. A 30-mile walk takes me about 6.5 hours. That’s a big time commitment. I was able to do the 30-mile walks in July/early August when I wasn’t working, but the 15-mile walks were done year-round. And that time commitment doesn’t include “prep time” (getting dressed, taming my unruly monster of hair, putting on sunscreen or winter gear).

Seriously. Considering I walked 15 miles a day 6 days a week pretty consistently throughout the year, that’s a huge amount of my time spent on this goal. Even if you like doing something (and I love walking), reserving four hours for it every day is a big deal. It was like having 20-hour days most days in which to squeeze in everything else I had to do. Sleep was the thing that got sacrificed the most, I think.

A third obstacle? Physical limitations, I guess. During the first month of the near-daily 15-mile walks, my body was like OH GOD WHAT THE HELL, but then it got used to the extra work. It was fine for most of the year, too, but I noticed right around the beginning of November that it was really starting to affect me physically. I wasn’t tired per se, but I was getting pretty worn out. By that point, my body was like OKAY I GET IT YOU LIKE TO WALK CAN YOU PLEASE TONE IT DOWN NOW?

And then, of course, there was the injury. I’m not sure if this was actually caused by all the 30-mile walks in July/August or if it just happened to be one bad misstep that messed something up in there. Hell, I still don’t know exactly what I did to my leg because I hate going to the doctor, but I do know that it still hurts more than I was hoping it would this far out from the actual incident. My guess is that I tore a muscle. I’ve never had any sort of physical injury like this, so I have nothing against which to gauge its severity, but I can’t imagine a strain or a sprain or anything like that hurting as much and as long as this has. I just know it’s not my knee. And I am very grateful that it’s not my knee. But I didn’t let it stop me. I walked through a lot of pain right after I hurt it so that I wouldn’t get behind on my mileage. But I do want it to get better. I hate walking as slowly as I currently am and I really miss running. I suppose I could, you know, do the smart person thing and rest it once this year is over.

Anyway. Sorry. I don’t mean to brag or any of that kind of crap. I’m just glad I was able to make this goal. This goal has been the only thing that’s kept me going at some points in this year.


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