Sunday, March 09, 2008

Aimless 2008

Unless something really weird happens, Aimless 2008 will begin in two or three weeks. On March 18th I'll be leaving central Ohio to help my buddy Jay move some stuff from Columbus to Savannah, then I'll probably visit Jay for about a week (or possibly a little longer). Finally, whenever Jay gets sick of me and kicks me out, Aimless 2008 will kick off from Savannah, Georgia.

So where will I go from Savannah?

I don't know. How bout Florida?

Nah, really. I don't care where I go from there. I might go west from Savannah or I might go south (to Florida), then west. All I know is I won't be going north and I can't go east. I figure I'll probably end up going toward Arizona and California, via New Orleans and Texas. Since only Lew had anything to say about my fund-raising idea, I'm just gonna forget about that for now. ("Here ya go, New Orleans: I've managed to raise 23 cents for your rebuilding efforts! Use it wisely.")

I walked 11 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes yesterday, hitting the 8.5-mile mark in just over three hours. 8.5 miles is a relevant figure because that's the same distance I walked on each of the first two days of Aimless last April. On Day 1 I managed to walk 8.5 miles in five or six hours, but Day 2 was a different story.

Because I didn't physically condition myself before leaving last April, the evening of Day 1 marked the beginning of several days of intense pain. I felt fine for maybe the first five miles on Day 1, but the next 3.5 miles sucked. Then, that night, I slept on uneven railroad ballast. (That wouldn't be so bad now, but I didn't have a sleeping pad then.) My body was not happy with me that night. I was in such pain that I couldn't even roll over.

On Day 2 I got up early and began walking. I walked all day (with a lot of breaks), but I only managed 8.5 miles. More railroad ballast for a mattress that night.

Here's the point: While it took over 12 hours for me to walk 8.5 miles last April 23rd, I did it in only 3 hours yesterday.

Even though I have been very inactive the last five months, having gained at least ten pounds, I'm surprisingly still in pretty good condition. I would have expected all the muscle in my legs to disappear by now, but it's mostly still there.

Getting back to the 11 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes: That's an insane pace, even for someone in awesome shape. In comparison, on the day I walked 28 miles, I didn't hit the 10-mile mark until 7 hours into the day. That's largely because I didn't think about shooting for 30 miles until several hours into the day. But if I can kick off a long walking day with an 11-mile start in just 4:20, I'll get my 30-mile day. Georgia in April might be a good time to try it.

Having said all that, the first ten miles doesn't mean much. I don't know why, but ten miles is the point where things start getting interesting. Regardless of whether I'm in good shape or bad shape, the feet start hurting about ten miles into a long walk. There's only one way to fight the pain of sore feet--take a long break--but there is no time for long breaks when you're shooting for a 30-mile day.

Which is why I'm so impressed with 11 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes. If I start walking at 6:00 AM and make it 11 miles by 10:20, I can take a rejuvenating two-hour break and still be on pace to hit 30 miles well before midnight. Then, if I'm able to repeat the feat after the break, I'll be 22 miles down the road at about 4:40 PM, leaving over 7 hours to walk another 8 miles.

I don't care how boring this stuff may be; I'm going to get a 30-mile day before May.

Aimless Video Evidence