Pushing myself.

Walkabout: 54,852 steps, 44.85 KM, 3,485 caloriesToday, I did something I’ve never, ever done before.

Everyone who knows me is aware I like to walk, sometimes what seem like ridiculous distances – twenty or thirty kilometres like I described in this recent post; Making time to look at the world. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m not a small guy – I’m currently around 107kg (237lbs), but I don’t let that stop me from being active.

Today I set out to push myself, hard.

For a couple of years, I’ve been thinking of trying to walk a marathon, but the time was never right – today, that changed.

I walked 44.85 Kilometres – well over a full marathon (42.2 km), and  further than I have ever done – even when I was running when I was 20 (I’m 40 now).

There was plenty to see today – dragonflies clearing a path for me, watching a heron hunting a crayfish (photo from 2008), watching a young doe dive back into the forest, seeing people of all shapes and sizes out using Ottawa’s fantastic network of recreational paths, monarch butterflies flittering about, what I think was a domestic canary in a tree, seeing how many fish there are in the Rideau Canal, and a really amusing moment when a fish bit and scared the hell out of a duck (you had to be there).  But let’s jump back to the beginning.

When I left Tracey at Bridgehead this morning, I hadn’t quite decided the route, but as I crossed the locks and made my westward on the Ottawa River Path, I decided that I would give it a shot covering this distance.

I knew if at any point I had to stop, I knew I could either hop on a bus or call my lovely wife to come save me.

The first twenty five kilometres were a cinch – I can walk that easily.  By kilometre thirty, I was starting to question my decision, but as the day wore on, and the kilometres passed, I became more and more determined to see it through.

By kilometre thirty-five I was certainly starting to feel the effects of the walk; my feet were sore, and my calves were not particularly pleased with me, but I was now around the bend at Hog’s Back and heading north along the Rideau River path – practically the home stretch.

By this point, my walking speed had fallen well below my normal average pace to approximately five kilometres per hour, which admittedly felt glacial, and make the last ten kilometres pass all the more slowly.

When I hit forty kilometres, my spirits improved – I was close – and Tracey was on her way to meet me.

I met Tracey around KM41. So close, I could taste it, but boy did it hurt.

I made it!Finally, I crossed the 42.8 KM barrier (I figured 600 metres is a good enough margin of error).

I will admit, the feeling of this milestone is a bit hard to put into words. Elation?  I was proud of myself – especially with how long I’d wanted to do it, but never could find the time. I knew home was still two kilometres away, adding to the success.

In the time it took to cover those last two kilometres, the pain in my legs and feet was worsening – especially during the uphill and downhill portions.

For a change, Tracey was walking faster than I was, and it was frustrating – I guess this was a bit of a taste of how it must be for her most of the time. ;-)

The final challenge were the steps up into our home. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.

Once inside, I carefully took my shoes off, and had a quick shower.  Then, I treated my feet to an epsom salt bath to ease the pain while Tracey ordered some celebratory pizza – I did burn nearly 3,500 calories today after all, and treated myself to a glass of scotch, cut with orange juice.

Maybe this was set into motion by the decision Greg and I made to “just do it” when we hatched the idea for Scream All You Want, and the confidence that came from that.  I don’t know, but I’ll tell you that finally making this milestone (or, should it be kilometrestone as I’m in Canada?), is something I’ve wanted to accomplish for a long, long time.

So, if there’s something you’ve wanted to do but have put off for some reason, now’s better than never. If you fail, you try again.  That’s how we learn.

Tomorrow, my body will certainly be angry with me, perhaps more than it is now.

But I did it.  


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