Sunday morning dawned wet and gray. Perfect weather to test my new raingear, purchased for an upcoming walk in northern England where, unlike Colorado, you just can’t count on seven straight days of sunshine.
I also wanted to test my walking capacity, just a bit intimidated by the thought of 84 miles in six days, finishing up with a final 21-mile day described as “Moderate and long” as opposed to most of the other days, shorter but described as “strenuous.”
I know I can run 20 miles, but I’m not sure I can comfortably walk that far. That may sound a little weird, but it’s true. Walking uses a different set of muscles and requires a longer time on your feet resulting in potential for sore toes, blisters, aching knees, quads and calves. I figured I needed to practice. I didn’t have any luck enticing anyone else going on this trip to join me so I went alone, which turned out to be a good thing.
There weren’t many cars on the road during the first two miles of my trip. The next three, on a bike path, I was alone except for a plastic-wrapped woman and a jogger in shorts who said what a nice day it was for a stroll as he passed by. The rain splashed gently down, persistent but never a downpour. I was happy for the hood on my jacket, its length, enough to cover my butt, the high-tech rain pants, a bargain from the children’s department, and the plastic bags I’d tucked around my feet inside my wool socks. By mile three I was warm enough to unzip my jacket despite the rain.
I couldn’t help thinking what a different world I was in as I traversed this same bike path a week ago on the last miles of the Horsetooth Half Marathon, dodging clumps of runners, seeking the dirt path whenever I could, grateful for the wind nearly at my back at last. What a difference a week makes.
Sometimes when I go out to walk, which is not often, I find myself morphing into a run but this day I kept one foot on the ground at every step. I’d promised myself to do that. It was whole different experience from going for a run. I stopped to pick up a stick and scrape away some debris on the roadside to allow the water to flow smoothly, stopped again on the bridge to watch the rising Poudre River pick up speed, remembering the devastating flood of 2013. On the way home, I picked up some trash on the trail. I don’t do those things when I’m running.
At my turnaround point, I knocked on the door of friends, interrupting their recliner-relaxing, TV-watching Sunday afternoon. They welcomed me in to eat my apple, use their bathroom and linger longer than I ever do when I visit other times. The hugs they gave me when I left made me realize I sometimes hurry too much.
It rained off and on all the way home. It was that kind of a day. One I needed.