It was in the spring of 2010 when I gave a talk to a group about the importance of having an annual mammogram. As I reached the end of my talk and took questions a woman asked me if I had ever considered walking in the 60 mile 3-Day walk.
She caught me off guard with her question because they had asked me to take part in this walk in the past and I had always said no.
Now I was in front of someone face-to-face and saying no became an impossibility. I said I would give it serious consideration.
I turned to look at Larry, and the look he gave me back was one I could read well. It was the look that said, “What the hell are you thinking?” He knew me well, and in knowing me that well he knew the rigors of training were not something I wanted to do because I don’t like to sweat. Training throughout the summer to walk 60 miles would mean sweating, a lot of sweating.
Sweating is not me.
Naturally my phone rang several days later, and it was that woman who wanted to know if I had reached a decision. I felt myself taking a deep breath, and I heard myself saying I would do it.
Larry’s face was saying “Oh, no you didn’t.” My scrunched-up face had a look saying “Oh, yes I did.”
Now came the work.
The work began with shopping for the correct footwear including sox and shorts and shirts made for sweating (there was that word again.)
Choosing the correct shoes is vital in training. Our training schedule had us walking 3 days a week in increasing distances. I had registered online and the chief complaint of other walkers was blisters.
I had no idea that the bulk of my research from the get-go would be about avoiding blisters, but it was. I went right to marathon runner’s pages to see what they do to take care of their feet and I bought every item that they suggested.
- Corn patches
- Tincture of Benzoin
- Duct tape
- Gold Bond Powder
- Body Glide
- Petroleum jelly
And undoubtedly other things, however the most important would be my shoes.
I drove an hour away to a shoe store that specialized in walkers and runners. This store measured my feet and showed me 3 shoes that would be the best ones for me.
I chose the Brooks running shoes. There were even lessons in the proper way to put the shoes on, the proper way to lace the laces, and the right sox.
10 years have passed since I embarked on this journey.
I raised $6800.00.
I had blisters.
I had minor podiatric surgery to remove a callous under a blister.
I would sweat so much that I showered in my shorts and shirt just to peel them off after every training walk.
With all the supplies I had purchased Larry and I got it narrowed down to painting my feet with Tincture of Benzoin (it helps the tape stick), then taping my feet in duct tape being careful to leave no spaces between the edges of the tape and also not tape over other tape. The Gold Bond powder was next, then the sox, and my shoes.
I still have those shoes. I still walk in those shoes. They represent the fact that I raised a helluva lot of money for breast cancer research, and I walked those goddam 60 miles (plus all the miles in training) and I sweated my ass off.
More than that though, they are a link to my terrific husband, and a link to how proud he was of me.
The photos of me along the way, the dance I performed on the finish line, and the pride I had in myself knowing that the sweating was worth it are all an enormous part of the glorious summer of 2010.
I put those shoes on for the last time this morning. I know it’s time to retire them. They have more than served their purpose, and now a hole has started in the top of one shoe, so yes, I will wash them and dry them and put them in a special place in my closet. You see every time I look at them I see my handsome Larry down on one knee helping me put my shoes on and reminding me to hit the back of the shoe against the floor to make sure my heel was in the proper alignment. Then he would lace them up for me and send me on my way with a kiss.
Here’s to my Brooks running shoes. You earned your retirement after serving me so well for 10 years. Goodbye.