So, there I was sitting at my parents place Sunday last, and I came to the conclusion that I should walk home, rather than drive. My weather radar showed that I had roughly 90 minutes before the rain showers would hit our little area of the world. I pronounced to the family, “I am going to walk home”. They stared at me, and wanted to see if I’d been drinking or something.
You see, since the day I turned 16 (driving age here in Ontario, Canada) there have been so few times that I would actually walk anywhere. To the Mall, to school, to soccer, friends houses, to that party at the end of the street even, I would either drive or be driven. This became an absolute necessity when I buggered my knee in 1986, putting my knee cap on the other side of my leg running into a brick wall that some would call, Simon Taylor (6’8″ 275lb linebacker, who also played goal in soccer) – We hit knee on knee.
So why in the name of Merlin’s saggy left *cough* after nearly 25 years of rarely walking anywhere would I be wanting to walk the near 2 mile long trek? Well, 2 reasons. First, I have been trying to get healthier (Go figure with the name of this website/blog). On my recent visit to my doctor, I was finally given permission to again commence with physical activity, but not to the extreme (No marathons, or Cross-Fit world championships this year). And second, I started walking nearly daily around our block, and wanted to push myself a little further.
Step 1. Walk around the block.
Now for most of you, that doesn’t seem like much, and can likely do it without breaking a sweat. But when you’re overweight, it becomes a challenge. When you’re very overweight, it’s very difficult. To the point where my feet and ankles swell, hips hurt, knees take a pounding. (Try carrying an additional 150-200 lbs on your body, walk 1 km…you’ll see my point). Because I often walk the kids to their school bus, and walk the dogs from time to time, it’s not as bad as what others may face. But it would hurt my feet, and joints. Deann (the most awesomest wifing creature evah) would often take pity on my whining, and massage my tootsies, spending a fair bit of time to help out my occasional bouts of plantar fascitis (significant discomfort caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia – if you feel the area between the heel and ball of your foot, you will feel the tendon in question) Because the plantar fascia gets inflamed, i developed heel spurs over the years. I won’t bore you with details about my surgeries on my feet, but suffice it to say, i have, um, foot issues.
Step 2. Get new shoes.
For ages, I have believed that a well fitting shoe is how you deal with discomfort. The more ‘comfortable’ shoes I wore, the worse my feet became. Even spending $500 on a pair of properly fitting shoes that were “specially made for my feet” didn’t help. They actually made things worse. We did a fair bit of research, and low and behold, the light bulb went off. Maybe wearing comfortable shoes isn’t the answer. What is Dr. Shoals is wrong? Let’s think about this -Chronic back pain, bad feet, bad toes are just some of the common ailments that people are facing today. Why is this becoming more and more prevalent over the last 50 years, and even more over the past 2 decades? Shoes are getting better, but why aren’t foot issues disappearing? Maybe it’s because we’re not supposed to wear shoes that support us in the way they do. Deann and I did some research, and sure enough, there is a correlation between these. Our solution were Vibrams.
Our neighbor, Ashley, wore these funny looking toe shoes, and I asked her what the deal was, and she explained her take on them on a brief walk home from dropping the kids off at the bus. More research was done, and we read what the shoes were really good for (trust me, read up on these shoes), and not only are they great for everyone, but oh my, is that me they talk about? After a few days of additional reading and question asking, we ventured out to the local shoe store where they sell them, and see about getting me a pair. None fit. In fact, Vibrams aren’t made to fit people like me with incredibly wide feet (6e’s). Deann ended up with a pair. Sadly, I was left without. Dr. Joe (as he’s called), recommended to me New Balance Minimus.
Perhpas you’ve seen their commercials? They are shoes with little ‘padding’ and much like the Vibrams, they are like walking barefoot. Now this is cool! Bright orange shoes, to match my car! In the 5 weeks since buying them, my feet feel AWESOME! No pain, no discomfort, and the pain in my back is going away. My mother even commented on my posture, saying that i am not as hunched over as much.
Step 3. Go for a longer walk.
Well, walking around the small block was now easier, and my body has been asking me to do more, and more, as it begins to wake up after years of being dormant – so walking around the longer block became the next challenge. Twice the distance, and slightly more elevation changes. First time was a little tough. I had a bout of CECS (often mistakenly called shin splints), which caused me a lot of issues making it home. I’ve battled this since i was a kid. A couple days off, and I went back at it again. I’ve even started walking that route after dropping the kids off at the bus. I have been feeling pretty good, and my body is demanding more.
Step 4. Walk home.
Ok, so maybe not a big step for some, but for me, this was a big one. A distance that i haven’t walked in years. More than twice the distance as the long block, and nearly 5 times longer than the short block. Yes, it was time. I feel good. I feel strong…dammit, i haven’t felt this good since….since….crap the last time i was drunk, which was when i proposed to Deann in 1997. Yes, let it be known that I asked Dee for her hand while under the influence. Liquid courage? Perhaps…but those who know me, know that being nervous about something won’t stop me. I had planned on asking Dee to marry me on Halloween, what wasn’t planned was all this yummy imported beer (from Canada) showing up, begging to be consumed (BTW that was the last time I actually drank more than 3 beers in a single day). So, I grabbed my iPhone, launched “Zombies, Run”, put on my Minimus and headed home. No pain. Feeling drunk on my excitement of being able to walk this distance. I passed my turn for home, and kept on trekking. Added the long block to this walk, and was on the home stretch when i started to feel discomfort. Slowed me down significantly. So much so that the last 200 meters took nearly 5 mins. I pushed myself to my limits and beyond, and i knew it. I feel inside the door at home, and was done, overly drunk on my excitement of my adventure!
A woman who meant a lot to me in my life, Susan Hendry put it,
If you find the drunkenness ebbing, um you should probably just get drunk again.
So here’s to another week of getting drunk on adventure!
Next Step: to always be drunk on this adventure.