They published the walk route out to us late last week, and it makes quite graphic just how challenging the first two days will be, the first at 23.5 miles and the second at 21.5 miles. The last day at 15 miles with no hills sounds glorious, starting on Alki Beach and then coming across the West Seattle bridge to turn north toward Seattle Center. The only day we will not have hills is the third day.
When I was first able to walk in the double digits, I had a talk with myself to set the baseline. Here's the deal I cut with myself: I will walk as far as I can each of the three days. I will restrain myself on competitive or overachiever behavior. I know that the size of the walking team and the cheering of the crowds help every walker do more than seems possible for each of those days. My training has made me more fit than I have been in 40 years. But if I cannot go the whole distance on foot without seriously hurting myself, I will raise my hand to be "swept" -- a glamorous term which means that I would be picked up in a van and driven the rest of the way to camp. If it is necessary, raising my hand will not take more courage than continuing to walk.
We found out last week that my tentmate Lisa will not be able to walk this year. Because of all the support she had when she battled thyroid cancer, she's trained and raised the money on behalf of all cancer survivors. But pain in her feet, legs and hips will prevent her from walking. She's spending time now to see other doctors, to find out the cause of the pain. We hold her close in our thoughts.