Oh, my aching calves

By Mir
February 9, 2006

I thought I’d give y’all a preliminary update on my preparation for walking 60 miles this summer. Because I know everyone is just DYING to hear how I’m doing, like UNABLE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT wondering if I’m really doing this thing or if I’m still just mostly sitting on the couch eating oreos.

Well I am here to tell you that I am only eating oreos AFTER my workouts. So.

I am also here to tell you that I am sore AND it is extremely cold outside in February. (Apparently I am here to tell you a lot of extremely obvious things.)

Now, a normal person, at this point, would be focused on getting into a fitness groove, working on a fundraising strategy, and perhaps being professionally fitted for a good pair of sneakers.

I don’t think I have to tell you that I am not a normal person.

My fundraising strategy is pretty much, “If you tell the internet, they will donate.” And really, I wasn’t entirely wrong about that. At the moment I have over $3,500 in donations accrued, which makes me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. Lots of extraordinary and pretty people have come forth to contribute and I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually. Unfortunately, when someone I don’t know makes a donation, I obviously have no way to contact them and say thanks… so consider yourself thanked, if I haven’t been able to say so before this.

[By the way, special breast cancer t-shirts are coming to my store… uhhh… soonish. I promise. Um, special shirts for which the profits will be donated, that is. The shirts won’t give you breast cancer. Probably. You may need to sign a liability waiver when you buy.]

I actually AM getting into my fitness groove, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, I’ve been able to indulge in my most favorite hobby: bargain hunting. And I’m ALLOWED, because it turns out that for this walk? You need a lot of STUFF. Gear for training. Gear for the actual walking. Gear for the camping. So far I’ve bought and returned one pair of sneakers, bought and kept one pair of fancy running sandals which I suspect I’ll love but I can’t really test out in the current sub-freezing temps, ordered another pair of sneakers, skulked around the camping section of Target three times, and called up my walk buddy to report that I’d found deluxe dual-bottle lumbar packs on clearance online! (Yes. I was excited about dual-bottle lumbar packs. Those suckers are expensive.)

So. Goodies are winging their way to me in the mail. I snagged a really nice sleeping bag for 75% off, and some of those gigantic ziplocs that allow you to compress all your gear (and, more importantly, keep it dry). I have official WALK SOCKS. Yes. They have CoolMax, which means that I still sweat like a pig, but my feet remain cool and dry. Actually my feet are still warm and sweaty, but my expensive socks (purchased on clearance) insist that they are perfectly moisture-free and smell like flowers. Which is nice of them. I have new sports bras and a pink 3-Day bandana (shut up, they were giving them away at this meeting I went to) and the shopping part has been lovely.

The training part… well, an interesting thing happened. I went to one of these coach-run introductory meetings where they talk about what to expect and how to prepare and how to raise money and please don’t freak out about having to set up your tent because the crew will help you. Prior to the meeting, I’d been being extremely half-assed about sticking to a workout plan, both because I was still dealing with my mutant boob (still afflicted! stay tuned for further adventures!) and I was sort of doing the “tomorrow is another day” mantra as justification for not doing much.

Then I went to this meeting, and there were a lot of women there who were older than me, or sick, or older than me AND sick, who have walked before. And are walking again. And it suddenly occurred to me how much of a lazy pampered IDIOT I would be if I couldn’t keep up with those women.

Fear of embarrassment, it turns out, is a pretty good motivator.

Over the last week, I’ve exercised 5 out of 7 days. I’ve walked 18 miles and been traumatized by the hairless yoga people. My face is chapped and my fingers are permanently cold. No matter how often I stretch, my calves scream for mercy every time I get up from a sitting position.

I feel great. Sore and cranky and tired and on my way.


  1. Bob

    My Hero! you are already walking farther/week than I do – and I’ve been walking every day for the past 1.5 years. (BUT – I’ve lost 35 pounds walking less. you’ll be nothing but a stick figure before long.)

    And imagine doing so with feet that smell like flowers. Mine do too. Like composting flowers.

  2. Julie

    Motivation in what ever form it takes can’t be all bad :)

    Hey, have you ever seen Hothands? Perhaps you could tape about 20 or so randomly over your body? I’ll send ya some duct tape ;) Or..just sick some in your gloves /shoes to keep those bits warm? Got any vaseline or aquaphor? Smear some on your face before you go out to protect it from the harshness of the cold NE air…just an idea :)

  3. Theresa

    And it’s such a wonderful thing you are doing, you should feel proud too.

  4. Chris

    Good on you, Mir, for taking up the charge. Some hard earned knowledge I want to share with you- have a rain shell, put Gold Bond powder on your feet and anything that might, er, rub while walking, and don’t just walk for training, strengthen you back and abs. You start the walk with you legs, but finish it with the rest of your body and back pain is a killer at the end of the 3 day.
    Not that I’ve ever had those kind of problems:)

  5. Chris

    PS- Thanks for doing the walk. You are making a difference.

  6. Amy-GO

    I am so, SO proud of you for doing all this. You are awesome. RAH RAH MIR! :)

  7. gretchen

    Wow! Good for you, as you have noted, exercise alone is unappealing, outside in February…downright icky. This is a great online store for discounted camping/sport equipment if interested:


    Good Luck–we are all pulling for you!

  8. Patricia

    Hey — you bought SOCKS???? And I was just going to ask for you shoe size so I could knit you a pair (or three) for your little walk. I don’t know much about CoolMax, but I can tell you nothing beats handknit socks for comfort and love!

    Oh, well. I pink, puffy heart you anyway.

  9. ben

    Yay for you! 18 miles is a LOT, especially if you aren’t used to exercising much (ask me how I know about “not exercising,” I dare you)

    I wanna know what the hairless yoga people think of your dual bottle lumbar pack. Seriously.

  10. Brenda

    Mir, You are amazing! Thank you for what you are doing. My MIL had two bouts of breast cancer that spread to her lymph nodes, but she has been in remission for the last one for over two years now.

    Be sure to get both calcium and magnesium. The calcium (about 1500 to 2000 mg) relaxes the muscles, the magnesium (about 300 mgs or mcgs, sorry, don’t remember the RDA) helps them tense and relax smoothly. (Don’t take more magnesium than recommended. Seriously, don’t. Things like diarrhea can happen after overdoses. Ick.)

    And you are going to do this, and make all of us proud and envious, and your kids will have so much respect for you they may even clean their rooms.

  11. chris

    Go MIR! You really are awesome.

    I had NO idea that you had to camp out while on this 3 day walk. Whoa. I am even more impressed.

    Do you have to carry it all in a pack the entire time?

  12. Angel

    I am in AWE of you!!!

    Don’t compare yourself to anyone else–you just do your best, and be proud of that!

    Good luck with your training :)

  13. Em

    First of all, you rock. But you knew that, didn’t you? Well, didn’t you?

    Second, and I don’t know if this is pushy but I was thinking it may come in handy for you. In April, they have the Walk for Hunger in Boston. I haven’t done it in a few years but before that I did it every year for about 10. Its a 20 mile walk in one day. It might help you to guage how your training is going while there is still time to make changes. You may be all pledged out by then but it still might be nice to be part of the crowd and see how it feels (the walking, the good cause, the warm glow) but all miniaturized.

  14. David


    I’m doing the walk in Chicago this year. As far as thanking your donors goes, you have a donations report on one of those tabs in your HQ. It should help with thanking people.

    You totally rock for taking on this challenge. Thanks for doing it.

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