Monday, August 10, 2015

City Walk 2015

Crew 4:30
I set an alarm for 4am and people began arriving at my place by 4:15. at 4:35, I began along with James, Bri, David, and for the first time, Leora.

When we picked an initial day to circumnavigate the city, it had been very hot. I was expecting 30 degrees C, which would have been pretty unbearable. It always excites me when there is an added bit of adversity. I don't do this trip repeatedly because it's easy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I want it to be hard and I expect sometimes to fail. When it rained so hard earlier this week, I knew that it was going to make the trip tough. The nature of this walk means that we spend a lot of time in the new construction areas of the city. That means clay and mud. Lots of mud. Mud became the defining characteristic that I will remember about this year.
Oh Lolli Lolli Lolli...
It seemed dry as we began to walk towards the south of the city. In 15 minutes we were at the rail lines and it was apparent that we were going to be in for a wet day. The grass was saturated with a heavy dew, augmented by rain during the night. For a couple of hours we could feel the mist around us like a prickling of the skin. My hair acted like a net scooping moisture from the air.

I am still very energetic in the morning and it was a beautiful pre-dawn. My best photos happen now. I lag behind or off to the side, through waist high weeds, then ahead of the group in the name of getting the most interesting angle. In another 10 hours, I’ll begin wishing I could reclaim that energy.
Shoes easily become 3 or 4 times their former weight. Should have stopped to build a cob oven.
We made good time, playing and joking about the mud so that we didn’t simply hate it. By the time Wendy brought us a pick-me-up coffee at the far end of 8th St., James was ready to head home. Perhaps, before departure, he forgot to leave an offering to Mayedinchina, the god of electronics and repetitive stress injuries.

Bri was next to go. She had made it past 50km last year and knew what kind of condition she would need to be in to go all the way. She got some blisters early on and wasn’t able to continue past our river crossing--despite an absolutely wonderful job of taping her tiny girl toes.
Bri tries to reinvent Five Fingers shoes with only medical tape and moleskin
We did a river crossing again this year. I think it worth pointing out to all the safety hounds out there, that not only do we always wear wet shoes and lifejackets, but this year the water was so low that I was able to touch the bottom the entire way across.

As is our custom, we had a wonderful picnic on the riverbank. Present for our repast were Gary, Liz, Eric, Anthony, Jodi, James, Leora, Anwyn and Wendy. Wendy is an essential element of our team. Zooming across town on barely a moments notice, she keeps us supplied with fresh clothing (especially socks) and wonderful treats (like coffee, peanut butter M&Ms and the picnic lunch) helping keep me in a good mental space to continue the journey. I’d say something about a metaphor for life here, but I’m overtired and my metaphor brain hurts.

We continued up along Whiteswan Drive and past the Silverwood golf course. Finally, succumbing to a nagging hamstring injury acquired while running last week, David said good bye at 71st street. Congratulations on a new personal best!

That left only Leora and I. Leo began limping noticeably and must have needed a distraction badly. She actually asked me to tell her a story from my library repertoire. She packed it in just shy of the Airport. I didn't have the heart to ask if it was the blisters or my story. Whichever, it was an excellent first outing at 51km.
It's just no good any more since you went away-ey-a-e-ay-ee
That left me alone for what is likely the most boring part of the journey. The walk around the airport. As shadows began to lengthen, I decided to try and run for as much of the remainder of the journey as possible. Tired as I was, I could only manage 2 or 3 km at a stretch with about the same walking between times. I was pleased to manage any running at all at that point and very pleased indeed to stumble into a waiting bubble bath at 11:46pm for a total time of 19h 16m. I didn't quite make my personal goal of 100,000 steps, but I guess that will give me something to shoot for next time.
I want you to know that I really appreciate everyone who came along, helped out or took an interest via social media. A shout out to Carmel P. who kept me diverted via Facebook during that last struggling hours. Much earlier in the day, Dave Aschim texted the team an inspirational quote attributed to Tim Cahill:
"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."
Thanks for coming on my journey.