27 Miles Down

My feet have grown soft.  The balls of my feet, the heavy pads just below my toes are tender, the callouses long since gone.  Over the winter, while I helped work on the play, I stopped working out like I should have, stopped letting miles fall away under my feet.

Most of the pounds I lost last spring came back.  I could be angry with myself, but it won’t change anything.  The only change that can be made is to how much I eat and what I eat.

The play ended a week ago.  And since then, I have returned to the gym, strapped back on my running shoes and started pounding out miles on the treadmill.  Since my doctor has told me to “lose the weight” in order to drop my bad cholesterol number, I have decided to work out an hour a day (as often as I can).  And I have done fairly well with keeping to that.

This summer, I will be hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park.

105 miles.

And I am truly excited and can not wait to get out of my car, pull my pack on my back, and start walking.  Put one foot in front of the other and continue to do this until I come out at Front Royal, Virginia and make a phone call and wait the hours needed for someone to pick up my hiking partner and me.

But I have too many pounds, feet too soft, legs not ready for this trip.  But I can change that too.  I can change just about anything I want, and this is something I want to change.

So I think I will.

I know that an hour’s worth of walking a day will certainly help me.  But I also know that I during the weekend, I can do more.

So, I decided that on weekends I will walk ten miles a day.

Friday, the Girl and I walked seven miles.

Saturday was ten miles (mostly by myself.  Accompanied in part first by the Girl. Then by the Boy).

Today, I walked to the gym.  With both of my children.  And then I walked some more on a treadmill.  And then we walked home.  Yeah.  I walked to the gym.   Because I didn’t feel like walking for ten miles on the treadmill.  I learned yesterday that this is pretty boring.

With music pelting into my ears and the strength of my own decisions, I have been carrying a six pound ball filled with sand on my back as a way to start toughening up my back.  I currently have weird welts on my back.

And I’m perfectly fine with that.

The balls of my feet now have blisters.  On my left foot, the blister spread from being on the ball of my foot to between my big toe and the next.  I can’t tell if the one on my right foot has popped or not.

I could talk about the pain, about how swollen my feet, toes, and ankles are.  I could talk about how I waddled home.   It was rather funny watching my son mimic me.

I could also talk about the surge of joy I felt when I watched my son merrily skip down the street as he neared home.  I could have been upset with how he flagrantly showed off the fact that he was feeling no pain, no fatigue.

But after walking with my children for two…three hours?  After having wonderful conversations with my children?

After hearing my son tell me that he saw me as an inspiration?

I could summon no other emotion than joy.  Complete and utter joy.

Dieting reminds me of all the other times when I failed at keeping off the weight.  Dieting reminds me of the fact that I chose to eat the unhealthy foods and then chose not to work out and then chose to continue to eat when clearly my clothing was getting tighter and I was feeling more and more uncomfortable with my appearance.

This time…

This time….

This time…I guess that I could choose to look at the fact that dieting is another reminder of another failure.

Or the twenty-seven miles that I have walked and run this weekend is a success.  According to the National Park Service website, specifically the one for Shenandoah National Park, I have done the equivalent of the first four days of hiking.  Actually, I’m a couple miles short of that.

But who’s counting?

Oh, that’s right…

I am.

I’m counting calories.  I’m counting steps.  I’m counting miles.  I’m counting blisters and painful sensations.  And I’m counting each step as a moment towards a greater success.

Give me three months.  Give me three more months and I will have tougher feet, stronger legs, a higher pain tolerance.  I will confidently exit my car, kiss my husband good-bye, shoulder my pack, and start walking up a mountain.

And then I’ll walk down the mountain.  And go up another.  And down another.  And I will continue to do this while remembering the pain I experienced now.  Because my hope is that in three months I will not be in pain.  I won’t have blisters.  I will only have the memories of these days when the last couple of miles are pretty painful but nothing held me back from achieving.

Except for the fact that I still have a weakness for Girl Scout cookies, pizza, and hard apple cider.

But when I’m burning over 1500 calories a day, I think I can indulge just a little.  And I mean a little.


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