Thursday, August 11, 2011

Underdog, idiot, or bad-ass?

I'm gonna hit the road to begin the 48-state walk on about August 17th, even though I'm still nowhere near recovered from the punishment I put my body through last year. 'Handicapped' is an appropriate word to describe my current physical condition. My feet are still kind of numb and my legs feel heavy when I walk, which makes me very prone to tripping. I also get worn out pretty quickly whenever I do any kind of physical activity because I usually can't move my hips or legs how they're supposed to move, which forces me to put extra work into every move I make. In addition to all that, I don't have any endurance because I've been physically inactive for the last 11 months. However... my condition has definitely been improving, slowly, and I finally feel like I know how to continue improving.

The big picture: Even though I've trimmed a lot of weight from my gear, the odds are not on my side, and I may find after a month that I'm physically unable to do this. That means I might have to quit after a month or two. So don't be surprised if I end up quitting (or postponing) this ridiculous megawalk.

You may wonder: If I'm in such bad condition, why am I even considering doing such a long, difficult walk, and why do I have to start now? Here's why: If I don't start now, I probably won't be able to start until this time next year. I need to start in Maine in late summer, then make my way south through autumn and into winter, for obvious reasons. I need to head north again during the spring, and so on. It's important for me to be in the right places at the right times because this will be a continuous walk (with no extended breaks), and I will sleep outside almost every night regardless of whether it's 10 degrees or 90 degrees at night.

Even in my current condition (which is worse than I've made it sound), I think I can do this. By doing the right stretches and by using a tennis ball to simulate massage of the muscles I've ruined, I THINK I'll be able to walk and heal simultaneously. And if I'm wrong, all I have to do is quit.

But even if I realize after a month that I should quit, it doesn't mean I will quit.

Even with all the trouble I'm having, I remain optimistic because I remember how I felt last year during the final month of the coast-to-coast walk. Whenever I stopped for more than a few minutes, my body would tighten up so much that I could barely walk. But once I started moving again, my mobility would return after a few minutes. So as messed-up as I was, I still managed to average over 21 miles a day for the last month of the walk, mostly in mountains. And that average includes a couple days off. (Yeah, I was trucking.) So I remain optimistic.

(ER: You will be very pleased to hear what I have to say in my next post.)

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