Monday, August 16, 2010

What a weekend!

Well, I got my 8-mile walk in this past Saturday. YAY! I skipped Sunday due to some unfortunate tummy issues (I won't go into more detail here for your sake!). I am definitely beginning to understand why training, specifically outside in the elements, is so important. As a newbie 3-Day walker, I learned some invaluable lessons this weekend so I'll take a few minutes to share them with you.

1. Just because you frequently drive through a specific area does NOT mean you know it! You may know all the street names that you pass and even several landmarks or stores on the route but you CANNOT know if from a walkers perspective unless you walk it. The route I walked this weekend (8 miles from grandma's to cousin's house) I have driven hundreds of times since I got my license and countless more as a passenger in my mother's car. Knowing that, I thought, "Hey, I know that route. Seems safe. Let's do it!" Uh hem! Didn't really work out that way. For instance, I could not have told you that about one mile of the route had NO sidewalks! There is a small industrial/commercial portion by the Modesto airport that is not finished (i.e., crosswalks but no concrete, finished sidewalks). Large portions of the route were covered in dirt, weeds, and some trash. While other parts were completely overgrown by bushes. The sandy part wasn't too bad though I did have to stop to get a few little grains of sand out of my sock before they gave me boo boos! However, the part overgrown with vegetation had me trekking through grass (way tough to do by the way), hiking through parking lots, or walking in the gutter! Luckily, there was a very wide right lane but still, walking in the street is neither ideal nor safe. All it takes is one stumble by me or one idiot texting while driving and BAM! Needless to say, while I did make it to my cousin's safe and sound, I will not repeat this specific route simply because safety HAS GOT to come first.

Lesson learned: Take care in planning your routes and if you haven't walked them before, take some time to drive through carefully examining from walkers perspective to be sure it's the right route for you.
2. Just because you can walk an 18-minute miles, does not mean you can walk 8 miles in 2.4 hours. It's important when budgeting your time that you account for the various types of breaks you'll need to take. There was the break to get the sand out of my socks – 5 minutes. The break to use the restroom and refill my water – 15 minutes. The many breaks (filled with stretching) and that many crosswalks. (Don't forget the time spent answering texts, which was such a HUGE lesson I saved it for #3.) For time budgeting, not only will knowing how long a walk can take help so family knows when to expect you back (a big safety issues) but also so you can be sure you have time to fit in the walks you need in the future. Next time I do a long walk, whether it's six or ten miles, I'll have much better idea of how long it will take.

Lesson learned: Account for the unexpected and over estimate the time you'll have to spend taking breaks. Your family will get a nice surprise when you show up early but will worry like crazy if you're five minutes late!

3. Texting while training etiquette must be taught for apparently is not an inherent skill. I was visiting family and took time to be sure they knew when I left, and how long I expected the trip to take me. I did this because I didn't want anyone worrying about me unnecessarily. I had also planned to text my whereabouts once or twice during the trip so they'd know I was moving along safely. However, what I didn't realize is how excited they would be and how often they would text just to see how far I'd gotten. I started getting texts about four miles in. I'm in the zone, already ½ ways finished and just walkin', ya know? Then I get a text. I don't want to stop, move out of the way, turn my waist pack around, dig out my phone and read this message so I ignore it. A few minutes later, I begin to worry that whoever sent the message will start to worry if I don't respond so…I stop, move out of the way, turn my waist pack around, dig out my phone, read and respond to the message. I wait a few minutes thinking they will respond back but they don't so I get back on the road. Not two minutes later, I get another text. Grrrr. I go through the whole rigmarole again only to see a text message reading, "k." Argh! This happened a few more times and probably ended up eating ½ hour overall. This was a huge lesson for me in that I must go through texting and phoning etiquette with my family.

Lesson Learned: Explain how difficult and unsafe it is to text while walking and promise to check-in. Be sure to do this in a way that let's family/friends know how grateful you are for their concern and support but how much it would help if those feelings could be shared together before you leave and/or after you return.

All in all I had a great weekend. The eight-mile walk was easier than I expected it to be which kind of made that light bulb go off for me. Yes. I need to train. But also yes, I can do this!

WEEK 13 TRAINING UPDATE (16-week plan)…
Monday – 3 miles (make up for last Sunday)
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – 3 miles (make up for last Sunday)
Thursday – 5 miles
Friday – 30 minutes cross training
Saturday – 6 miles
Sunday – 8 miles

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