Monday, April 30, 2007

From Firenze....

We are walking everywhere in Florence...we arrived yesterday afternoon, slept 4 hours, then went out to get our bearings. Down to the water, across a bridge, into a church, walked more, then another bridge, then leisurely dinner....more later

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth...Tame the dragon and the gift is yours."

The last several days have gone very quickly, and I'm working off checklists now, since we leave so very early on Saturday. Last session before trip with Amy this morning, from which I ended up lightheaded. That turned into satisfaction when we measured me: I've lost 2" on waist, and 1.5" on hips, and 1" on bust since last measured, about six weeks ago. Better yet, I can see how the work is making a difference in terms of my energy level and my outlook. Last day at work tomorrow, with lots going on, before I start that last round of errands and packing. Rock & roll!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Irish Eyes Are Smiling...

My trainer Amy learned yesterday that I'll be carrying luggage that converts to being carried on my back. Had I not told her, I would not have had to do "step up/step downs" from uneven surfaces multiple times. But she is looking after my best interests, and does not want me to fall. Burned deeply into my brain is the phrase, "put your whole foot on the step," which will come in very handy for all the churches and museums in Florence and Siena that we plan to visit. I am so much stronger than I was a month ago!

I have tried the "UltraSimple Diet" since last Saturday, very plain food with all possible food allergens removed, and a good way to clean out the gunk before traveling to an area of the world known for its food.

The conference folks sent on the final programme. There are only 54 people who will sit together, off the record, and discuss and create recommendations around various areas concerning international preparedness, whether about terrorists, pandemics, or international cooperation around natural disasters. I am honored to have been invited to such a beautiful setting to talk about such things. In fact, I'm smiling as I think about how extraordinary the invitation is to come to a person such as myself....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"The person who has no opinion will seldom be wrong."

Gorgeous day yesterday with sun and billowy clouds. Lisa and I walked to the end of the Olympic Sculpture Park path, close to the Post-Intelligencer building, and back. We made very good time, and the shower felt wonderful. I had good days to walk at Green Lake over the weekend as well, breaking in my new orthodics.

I finally figured out why I feel like I am falling behind at work: there are 3 hours a week where normally I sit at my computer and eat lunch that are no longer available because I am outside in the clean air getting in shape. I am trying to rejigger the work to fit this new schedule, and to complete big chunks of work before two upcoming trips.

We leave for Florence early Saturday morning. Since the conference does not start until Thursday, we have a few days to see the city and the Tuscan countryside as well.

Nearly time for the gym and lower body work(out) with Amy. She's done an incredible job of putting me through my paces. With the walking, my shape has begun to change and so has my belief about the complexity of this effort. There are side benefits everywhere you look: for my own health; for the amount of money I can raise; and for the things I will learn from those who walk with me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Act in the valley so that you need not fear those who stand on the hill."

This is a very useful Danish proverb, especially when feeling overwhelmed and outwitted...

Time and tragic events have a way of making the mind move back and forth too much. I have been walking each day faster and angrier since Monday when we learned of the horrific murders at Virginia Tech. I can't stop thinking about the failure of police to lock down the first murder site, and alert all persons on the campus that a killer was on the loose. This is the first rule of emergency management: contain the scene, and proceed with orderly evacuation. I cannot imagine how the parents of the dead must feel.

But this is a journal about how to learn to walk twenty miles in one day. I mention the failure to manage an emergency of this scale because my thoughts are so affecting my ability to walk well this week. It is as if there is not enough time to relax the mind, to stretch the muscles. I cannot really keep up with Mary and Lisa this week as they walk. It is as if my mind has contorted my breathing and my good sense.

So I need to find and act in the valley, as do millions of others feeling helpless over the tragedy. I don't want to be looking at every new hire, every new face, to determine if I am dealing with someone who might turn violent. I don't want more media analysis and excerpts from the killer's writings, because that will simply inspire copycat killers. I want to walk with grace and rhythm, looking clearly at the valley and the hill, and taking joy from the abundance that weaves through my own life. Most of all, I want to be able to walk twenty miles a day, for three days in a row.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."

The 3 Day Orientation was extremely useful. I learned (for instance) that the first two days of the walk you probably average 21-22 miles, and the third day 15-17 miles. The camp site stays in one place throughout the walk. Last year, the walk went from somewhere near Woodinville to Redmond, and then across 520 bridge into Husky Stadium for Closing Ceremonies. Very inspiring sesson, emotional as well, but interspersed with lots of laughs. Seattle has the second largest race in the nation, with 3,000 walkers last year. San Diego fields 5,000 walkers.

Today I took my new walking sticks and went round Green Lake in late morning. More folks out than usual, with the sun, but we had a bit of rain as well. The sticks take some getting used to...but I think will be very helpful in building upper body strength as well as giving my feet a bit more spring than they might have otherwise.

I need to creatively invent my walks the next two days. All day conference at the UW's Waterfront Activities Center tomorrow, so I think I will take the car but park it on upper campus so as to walk down and back from the water. Tuesday morning I work with Amy, my trainer, and then will see if I can squeeze a trip round Green Lake in a the end of the day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Day of Rest

Two punishing sessions with my trainer this week, and I walked M-W-F. Working out the logistics was toughest. My walking sticks came last night, and I plan to use them this weekend, though not perhaps today. Tea with an old friend at 9am, and then to REI for The 3 Day Walk orientation session. And lots of errands.

Though it looked like it to begin with, nothing I have tried in the last seven days has been too hard. I'll just keep plugging away.

Other good news is that breast MRI ordered by my doctor because of family history was negative....I am a fortunate woman.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Risk Bustiers Movin' On Down the LIne

4.6 miles today in 1.25 hours! Down to the waterfront, then north to the Olympic Sculpture Park, up those endless stairs to top then turned around and came on back. The best bathroom along the way (coming or going) is the harbormaster's office by the Bell Harbor pier. Our team captain, Mary, was able to join Lisa and I today. We have a fourth member of the team, Karen, who will join us once she has walked some on her own.

Yesterday Amy was able to exhaust me with a tough set of exercises over 30 minutes time in the gym. She thinks the walking sticks like Lisa has would be a good idea, especially for developing more upper body strength as well.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Risk Bustiers -- First Walk

Lisa and I walked west, down to the waterfront, then north about a mile today. Lots of cool gusty winds and blue skies. We'll have this down to a science within a week. Lisa has walking sticks, which are good for balance, also for upper body strength.

I read another article on stretching, quite illuminating. It says don't stretch until you have warmed up by walking for about five minutes, or you risk doing damage to cold muscles. Makes sense, wish I'd known sooner.

Tomorrow is working with Amy, my trainer, in the gym...a respite for the blister on my right foot. I always feel better after I work out with her. My core strength has improved enormously.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Today I started training.

Green Lake is near enough to home that it makes the easiest weekend walk. It's 2.8 miles round. Both Saturday and Sunday, I walked fairly early and marveled at the canopies of flowering trees, the daffodils providing extra splendor. Plantings of trees and greens near the water make an expressionist painting.

As we begin this week, I have raised about $2,400 on the site, with another $2,000 or so of matching gifts still to arrive.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

This is the last workday of my free week. I'm off to the gym this morning...then will try to get walks in yet today, tomorrow and on Easter morning. All the symbolism is on my side for these next days.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

City Hall and Back...

I walked about a half mile each way, at ten minutes for a half mile. That means I might be able to do 2-3 miles an hour next week. The sun was out, so it was a euphoric set of small steps forward.

Dr. Berg is building me a new set of orthodics, with special focus on right heel. When the new ones arrive, he'll take my current ones and build up the right heel as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Tortoise and The Hare

"At this point we need to be safe, sane and disciplined. We have about 5 months and we have a much better chance if we all avoid injury," says Mary, our team captain. The name of our team, by the way, has evolved from its original name (Risk Busters) to "Risk Bustiers," certainly one of the more civilized names for a team that you can find on the website.

We plan to walk three days a week, starting next week. The logistics of this effort are mind-numbing: small locker room to change, get down to the waterfront, do the walk, come back up and clean up, then go back to work.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


How much water can a person drink before they are in the bathroom most of the time? Does this part get any easier?

My hypothesis is that with the exercise my body will become stronger....and lighter...making it easier on my knees, ankles and feet to support this effort.

Monday, April 2, 2007


This week is all about taking care of details. Yesterday was the right shoes. I went to see John Ng at Nordstrom in Northgate. He's a distance runner, and helped me pick out my last pair of gym shoes. There's a lot to know about shoes, and socks, for this type of walk. I ended up with two pair of Asic walking shoes this time. They are 4-6 oz. lighter than the Brooks gym shoes, and support the foot better for distance. I also got two pair of Asic socks, made to protect the foot and draw sweat away as well. I'll go back to see him in a couple of weeks to let him know how these are doing, and I'll alternate all three pairs for walks.

Also this week: visits to check my orthodics, and with my physician to discuss whether or not I need a breast MRI based on family history. I have had mammograms since I was 35.

This is the last grace week of lighter approach to training. Coming into this week I'm showing $1,450 raised, with another $1200 coming in matching WaMu gifts.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Stiff and sore

No walk this morning....calf muscles in my legs are too tight...I did not stretch the recommended time before I started out yesterday in the rain. This will either be my day of rest, or I'll try it this afternoon after I've limbered up some.

Stretching right and drinking lots of water are my goals this first week of pre-work. I need to see if I can walk three miles in one hour on my own before we start team walk training next week.