Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We are Kindred Spirits

Our small team of three has joined the larger team of Kindred Spirits, the group I've been walking with the past two weekends. Our support group has expanded exponentially before we begin the walk, and our three individual fundraising goals become part of the goal of $500,000 that Kindred Spirits has set.

In making this decision, I feel a certain confidence that I will be able to enjoy the 3 Day Walk itself rather than think of it as a pending ordeal. I like the training support we'll have , and the laughs as well. There are both first year walkers and veterans to walk with.

This weekend many of the Kindred Spirits team will be up on Whidbey Island, camping and walking about 40 miles over several days. Anna and I will walk down here, Saturday in Woodinville and Sunday in Kenmore, to keep moving forward on our training.

You can read more about Kindred Spirits at www.kindredspirits-usa.com.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tour de Mukilteo

It was cool and overcast when I drove to Mukilteo yesterday morning. We met at Whidbey's, a coffee shop with a lot of personality and an owner who didn't mind 20+ people milling around. Penny, team captain of Kindred Spirits, had alerted me earlier in the week that there were some hills on this walk. I know that we will walk in many types of locations, with or without hills, on the 3 Day Walk itself. But I've never walked on a paved shoulder of an intermittently busy road before, with "nice long inclines" both on that road and on the side neighborhood roads we wove and in out of. I was glad to have the company of Anna and Pennie S. again this week, to accomodate my slower style, even though it felt like our version of the Tour de France.

Though I had planned to do 12 miles, the inclines did make a big difference. I turned back after 4 miles, making my walk 8 miles total yesterday. On my way back to Whidbey's, I also managed to twist my right knee, to match my swelling feet. I'll have to figure out how to tie my shoes differently when on hills, and do some research on any other measures that might come in handy.

I had thought to do a back to back walk today at 7 miles from Green Lake to Gas Works Park, to complement the 8 mile walk yesterday, but am going to humor my right knee instead with some stretching and mat work.

It's not the end of the world to "only" walk eight miles with hills.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"You're unstoppable now."

If it's true that how you think and talk to yourself determines what you can do, then my trainer Amy is my oracle.

I had a great session in the gym yesterday with her, working on both upper and lower body core. If you've never worked with a trainer, then it may be hard to picture what 30 minutes of intensive focus can involve. She has me working on machines with various amounts of weight to work certain large muscles...as well as exercises done with props to center my balance and to extend my range on big muscles I use to walk. She also has me doing mat work that more falls into the pilates/stretching arena. And she's more recently added push-ups as well.

Amy is careful not to praise me inordinately -- she knows I have a good ear for bullshit, and a fair sense of my own progress. So her comment yesterday meant a lot. That's not the end of things, though. She will continue to push me.

Everyone should have an Amy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking."

This Buddhist saying seems appropriately ironic for mid-week reflection, coming off the weekend high. I've walked three miles every early morning this week, and walked another three miles today at lunch with Mary. I have a moving set of blisters around a swollen right bunion that is causing me trouble. I'm going to back off walking tomorrow morning in favor of upper body training with Amy in the gym and no walk during the day. I'll plan to do a six miles again on Friday. And on the assumption that the foot is better, I'm determined to do 10-12 miles on Saturday in Mukilteo with the Kindred Spirits team.

On the dollars raised side, we did accomplish a breakthrough: our company will expedite payment of matching gifts received through July 30th. With those matching gifts counted, I have raised about $16,000 at this point.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"The only way to pass the test is to take it."

It's late afternoon on Saturday, and I am sweaty and exhausted, but exhilarated. I joined a large training walk today at the Snohomish Centennial Trail and kept up. I completed 10.3 miles! The trail itself is beautiful. It did not rain, but was just very very muggy. What an outstanding group of people, a couple of men included, about 20 people in all-- they call themselves Kindred Spirits.

Still wearing the hat and ID after the walk, I met a lady in Expresso Express who has breast cancer as do other members of her family. When my son told her I was doing the walk, she insisted on writing me a check. It joins one from a lady I've never met, a former client of my friend and esthetician, Jobeth, who has just recovered from ovarian cancer. Jobeth sent a letter to all her former clients to give an update on her health, but also to ask them to support my walk.

The Native American quotation above applies to my experience. There are all kinds of tests in life, including horrible tests for folks fighting cancer. I am an extremely lucky person. Now that I know I can walk ten miles, I'll be doing twelve miles next weekend in Mukilteo with the same team on some hills.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Fortune favors the bold." -- Virgil

I'm certainly feeling the 9 miles of walking from yesterday. Today I've slept in and will go work with Amy on upper body training in late morning, then do a walk at Green Lake, and finish the cross training with a swim.

I've also sent out a fourth letter to those who I think are interested in donating to the walk.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

A rainy Seattle morning was perfect for clocking myself to do six miles in two hours, including stretching and bathroom stops. Traffic (see above) was heavy at 5:30am on certain sections of the path. I celebrated with a Varsity Inn breakfast of two pancakes and scrambled eggs when I finished.

I've been doing three miles at a pop each day since Saturday, and then some additional walking during the day on errands and meetings. Today I'm going to start walking additional distances during the day. I'm working until early afternoon on revisions to my book, then I'll walk down to the Varsity Theatre to see "A Mighty Heart," a three mile round trip. That would make nine miles for today, unless I also walk down to Leroy's UW Summer Band Concert this evening.

When I trained with Amy yesterday morning, she pushed me to start walking different kinds of surfaces and different distances -- and see how obedient I am to her instructions? I talked with Penny, who leads longer training walks up north of Seattle on weekends. I'm going to drive up to Snohomish Centennial Park on Saturday morning to take part in her 16 mile walk. We decided last night on the phone that I would shoot for doing 10 of those 16 miles this time out, based on walking six miles without issue right now. To go straight to 16 is probably too great a leap, though I know it's often the mind that is the inhibitor.

It's difficult to know without some variance in training whether it's my foot or boredom that keeps me stuck around six miles at a pop. So I'm going to do the thing I think I cannot do on Saturday -- and will spend these next days, including today, getting ready for it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Having changed, you pass through." -- I Ching

I am on vacation next week, and started my new routine this morning. I hit Green Lake early and did two laps, or 5.6 miles. I will go back later this evening and do at least one more lap. It's cooler now than the 96-98 degree temperatures earlier this week, though still sunny and in the 80s.

Things to remember when walking -- knees face forward... look up and out, not down...breath deeply and from the lower abdomen... keep buttocks tucked under...and send strong chi to my friend Jenny, whose example I follow in making this walk.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"The ancestor of every action is a thought." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I stopped salting my food and lost six of the seven pounds I'd gained. I have added 5am walks at Green Lake to see the sun rise, and gather my thoughts around walking further.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right." -- Henry Ford

I had taken the days after Wednesday the 4th of July off to kick my training up a level and go longer distances. It's been very hot and dry here in Seattle, and the long range forecast shows it will probably still be hot and dry in September when we walk. So it's been good to walk every morning as it starts to heat up for the day. I know also that I need to drink more water and to do more stretching. Knowing and remembering are often two different things. I've not been able to get up past 4.3 miles at a pop this week, whether it's heat or lack of stretching, or just plain desire to stop walking after I hit 4 miles. I had planned to walk that same distance each evening this week, which would have put me at 8 miles a day, but did not in fact make it.

I am tight as a tick on the left glut/hamstring areas. I've done a good bit of stretching and reading today, rather than walking. And just in case it's a mineral deficiency, I started taking magnesium citrate tablets yesterday.

I'm reading a book by Carolyn Scott Kortge, called "The Spirited Walker." Today's quote from Henry Ford is from her book, indicating that "how you think and talk to yourself often determines what you achieve."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"You put salt on your food!!???***!!!"

I love salt. I always have. So today when I weighed in at 7 pounds heavier than June 19th, Amy had to ask "what has changed?" I had to confess that I have been eating microwave popcorn some evenings, and that I salt my food.

You should have seen the look on her face....not the one you see here, where I am indeed that 7 pounds lighter.

Not only will I not be allowed to salt my food, but I am also to take a look at the sodium content of any food, but forego in particular microwave popcorn, spicy Cheetos, other basic units of food like that.

I had a sedate (non-salted) lunch with Jane from WaMu, the purpose of which was to do some mentoring. Instead for at least half of the lunch meeting, she mentored me. It turns out that she has previously done this walk herself twice. She reminded me that my goal is to be ready to truly enjoy myself during the walk, itself a 3,000 person strong human symbol of determination and optimism. She also recommended a good book on Seattle's great parks with maps to show routing among them. Don't know why I didn't think of that myself as an option to going round and round Green Lake. I'll check with Barbara from Capital Markets to see if she is interested in a Green Lake to Ravenna Park to UW to the Arboretum to Madison Park route one of these upcoming weekends, of which we have nine left....