WALKING A MARATHON
I began power walking about four years ago. I had been a runner (jogger, really). I spent a lot of time in the gym using exercise equipment, lifting light weights and attending group fitness classes. Over time, I began feeling aches and pains, specifically my knees. This was not unexpected as years of pounding in high impact activities would surely lead to wear and tear injuries, but I didn’t want these issues to progress to surgery later on. I decided to switch to power walking and quickly became obsessed.
I had always wanted to complete a marathon. One day while walking, I thought “Why not walk a marathon?!” I registered for a marathon not far from where I lived. I had been increasing speed and distance as my walking progressed. I never entertained the thought that I might not finish the marathon. I had no idea what to expect but was eager.
On marathon day, I felt enthusiastic. I experienced a little anxiety, but that was mostly related to concerns about where to park, how to dress for the weather, etc. I got caught up in the crowd’s excitement as start time approached. Participants were chatting while stretching and warming up. The colorful athletic wear, upbeat music, cheering spectators and overall energy were stimulating. I was ready.
I started out near the back of the group. (I learned later that this is a good spot as participants are bottled-necked in front.) I was pumping my arms and walking fast. I passed some runners (!) and felt even more confident that I would not only finish but also perform well. Along the way, many folks asked “Are you going to walk the entire race!?” I was not the only walker. Of course, I felt fatigued after a lot of miles. My back and feet were aching. I stopped at some hydration stations, and I had a pocket full of peanuts (and I kept thinking about my post-race reward of donuts!). I said “good job” to fellow participants as I moved forward, and it felt important to thank the wonderful spectators. Around miles 16 & 20, I “hit the wall” which means that I felt worn out. I rallied. I looked around as I walked, noticing nature and interesting things. Fast forward (really fast walking!), I crossed the finish line. I felt great mentally, emotionally and, yes, physically. I had done it! My mantra had been “have a good time” (referring to a fun experience, not a clock time). I will say that after 5 hours, 32 minutes of walking, the crowd at the finish line had thinned as most competitors, especially the elite runners, had completed their race long before me. However, there were plenty of participants still crossing the finish line, and I quickly moved to the fence to cheer them on.
I returned home and, within a few days, signed up for my next marathon. I have now completed 26 marathons and counting! Just about anyone can do this! It’s simple: Put on some comfy sneakers and baggy clothes and just start walking!
Young autistic Watertown resident completes personal quest to walk every street (Article link below)
This is the article written by Phoebe Gray on Aug 18, 2020
There are numerous walking/running apps that record your routes. Many offer free versions. Along with the mapping apps came a new trend on making GPS art from walks.
Have you ever looked at your route after a walk and thought there was a design or a picture of something that you created on your walk?
Now you can learn about GPS art and create walks that draw shapes.
The two articles are about runners who do GPS art. Swap walking for running and you're all set to do your own walking art walks.
The one article talks about the network of city streets as a palette for creating art. I think it is more like an Etch-a-Sketch since you can 'erase' your walk and do another design using the same streets.
How to Make GPS Art
Making Art on the Run? includes a video
Below is a YouTube video by John E. Hiker that I found really informative. He makes a good point that the Federal and State organizations et al that maintain trails have a limited budget. So bridges that wash out are not always being replaced in a timely fashion. Especially on more of the remote trails.
Knowing how to safely cross a river is an important skill for backpackers.
Some immediate take aways are to cross in the morning when snow fed rivers and streams are at their lowest. Wear shoes or waterproof socks or even wool socks to cross rivers. Rocks are slippery and you may lose your footing or injure yourself going barefoot.
Undo the straps on your pack both waist and sternum straps.
Use a pole or find a sturdy stick to use to probe the river as you cross and also as leverage to help you stay balanced and upright.
It is challenging to keep up with all the people who are walking across the United states to raise awareness for causes. I try to follow and find as many as I can but I know I am not inclusive of everyone.
I really do find much of my information from links on Facebook and my own google searches. This morning I read a post from a friend in Denver Colorado about Peter Munson's walk across the United States.
Peter is walking across the US to raise awareness for children in need.
6 Million Steps for Kids has the information about his journey and the charities he is working with to raise money.
From my friend's post it looks like he is near Denver Colorado today. His journey is from East to West.
I have followed People walker since I first heard about this business a few years ago. I loved the concept of being a people walker and did email Chuck to enquire about how to do this in Portland, OR. When they expanded to other cities I applied to be a people walker in Portland. I was hired, and I felt like I have a strong background in walking knowledge and I do walk. I was disappointed with the lack of people wanting to pay to walk in Portland and some disappointment in a lack of support to getting started in Portland. I still think their main focus was on the LA area and not enough support was given to the other cities.
I do support the concept and I understand that the app they created to connect people with people walkers needed funding and due to a lack of resources the app is no longer available.
I am happy to see that Chuck did a TED talk and I hope he is able to build his business and create a people walking niche. Now more than ever there is an increasing need to walk and spend time disconnected from our electronic devices.
This article was brought to my attention through someone contacting me with an article that one of her students found. I was asked to post this article.
I am happy to do so. I understand a pizza is involved for this young lady if I post the article. How can I resist that?
Tips for Pedestrian Safety: Walking Safety Rules
In general I agree with what is suggested for walking safely. It also raises some red flags about the issue of putting all of the responsibility for walking on the pedestrian. The people who are driving are absolved of taking responsibility for their driving behavior. There are many articles about this subject of victim blaming in crashes between pedestrians and drivers. Here is one article: We Blame Pedestrians for Dying Even When Drivers are at Fault.
Of course, a pedestrian needs to be safe and it is important to be safe not dead even if the law says all intersections are considered a legal crosswalk. If a driver ignores that, stepping into an oncoming vehicle would not be in your best interest.
I think being alert, making sure the driver sees you or it is safe to cross before crossing, not walking while distracted all of these are valid considerations. Drivers also have responsibilities too. Driving is a privilege not a right.
A veteran wildlands firefighter tells hikers how to react to fires (from PCTA blog April 15 2019 by Ken "granny Gear" Hale
I am going to post the link to the blog here: https://www.pcta.org/2019/a-veteran-wildland-firefighter-tells-hikers-how-to-react-to-fires-64549/?fbclid=IwAR3dUqhRC-FMzffXHn_ochV1cxEmJSrgQ529riqHuXYpUSDIh-t2X5fK_gc As we head into wildfire season this is really good information for through hikers, day hikers, backpackers. Be safe on the trails.
This is a fun video to watch as it is set to music and shows people walking and different modes of transportation back in the day. It is amazing to see how people moved out of the way for each other and it all seems so synchronized. As more cars became the norm more people died or became injured while on foot.
This is a recent article on Mall Walking that was written for Groupworks. Here is the link to the article https://groupworks.com/blog/group-activity-spotlight-mall-walking/
I wrote this article to help promote the America Walks College for 2019.
This is so validating to all of my efforts that I have put into working on this website and my work in pubicity with the American Volkssport Association. I had to share this.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who continues to walk, hike, and write about walking. Without your fascinating websites,books, videos, histories etc... my site would not exist.
My goal continues to be to advocate for safe walkable neighborhoods, and bring awareness that walking is truly a sport and an easy way to stay healthy and fit. And it is interesting and has its place in history.
I am very excited about a writing /blogging gig that I was recently hired to do. I will be writing for GroupWorks which is a platform for helping clubs by making management easier. I first heard about GroupWorks when the AVA started using it to manage their clubs and members. They also have interests groups called passions and then they have channels that one can follow. One channel is called Hiking and Walking and I will be the person writing and adding content to that channel. It is very similar to how I gather information for my website. I feel like this is a really positive step for me as I move forward in my life.
If you are interested in using GroupWorks for club management I'd suggest checking their website. It is an easy platform to use and has lots of potential. Plus you could then subscribe to my channel!
I recently joined a new group in North Portland (OR) that is focused on connectivity. Connecting multi modal transportation agencies with neighbors to discuss the transportation issues and how to move forward in an increasingly more densely populated neighborhood. We decided to do a Kick off and introduce ourselves to the community and get the transportation agencies involved with the neghborhood. This was our first event with about 150 people in attendance.
I was fortunate to know the author, who lives in my neighborhood and offered to attend the event and write a blog for America Walks.
Now the work begins to continue to build the partnerships and keep the dialog going.
When I turned 50 my friend recruited me for her relay team, The Vintage Whine Walkers. This is a group of older women who enjoy walking and all the challenges that come from living in a van with 8 other women during a relay event, fatigue, jumping in and out of a van to support the person walking etc..., bees, mosquitoes, heat, cold, finding and losing things, it is all part of the adventure.
When a relay comes up (this year we are doing 5 walk relays not the usual 2) our captain, Judy will ask who wants to join the team for that particular race. Sometimes she has to find new team mates which helps grow our list of walkers as some move to other teams or are unable to participate anymore.
Our team prefers to do an 8 person team, we have a reliable comfortable older van which fits right into our group. Although CLR did a Relay in Hells Canyon one year and we did it with 5 people. Don't ask how. We somehow managed. Unfortunately that relay did not continue after the first event.
We do Portland to Coast, Cascade Lakes Relay from Silver Lake to Bend. This year we did an overnight Cape Meares Relay. Hood To Coast is expanding their races and moving towards one day relay events. We did HTC Pacific City and HTC WA. The two videos are from the HTC WA relay. The one on the right features my team captain. She is the reason I continue to do relays.
I am not sure why I enjoy doing walk relays. I'll be out walking along my leg on a narrow highway following the walker ahead of me with a walker gaining on my heels, it's hot, I am thirsty, hungry for real food, and tired. My team is waiting for me a couple of miles down the road, and I ask why am I doing this?
Then when I am at home and it's dark and cold outside I see the email from Judy- I just signed us up for the CLR- are you in? And I respond-of course! How could I not do it again?
I have two more relays this year. Cascade Lakes Relay and the Portland to Coast Relay.
Judy has us signed up for 3 next year and we keep searching for some new ones to add to our list. We've been eying the Golden Gate Bridge Relay.
The Idita Walk used to be one of my favorite yearly events. It was run by Nome Boy Scouts and they raised money for their troop. They charged $10.00 and you received a pin when you completed 1049 minutes of walking from Feb 1 - 31 March. It was an easy challenge and people would add to the challenge-things like signing up first. Doing the most minutes. Reaching the goal the soonest. They were not official challenges but there was a list of everyone who signed up in order and you could track everyone's success.
Unfortunately they no longer hold this event. I had to remove it from my site as the last event was in 2017 and it was run by a community and I felt like it was not as great as it could have been.
I enjoyed knowing that my money was helping a troop in a very small community and I thought this was such a clever way to raise money and meet people and get people out exercising during the winter at least 30 minutes a day. The point of the Idita Walk was following the real sled race in minutes versus miles.
My hope is someone will bring back this event and make it even stronger.
Another event that is no longer is the Burning Boot Walk in BC. Sadly that has not been held for many years. It was a fun grueling walk.
This is a film that was taken 4 days before the Earthquake in San Francisco in 1906.
This link has two films the one taken before the earthquake and the 60 Minutes story about the film.
I also found this footage that has sound. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q5Nur642BU
From the perspective of a walking advocate it is striking to see the people walking and streaming across the street and the vehicles are not so bothered by it.
It's a wonderful piece of history and of course tinged with sadness for the disaster and the lives lost.
Pacific Crest Trail / A Walk Across the United States
Why I Got Off the Pacific Crest Trail After 454 Miles Instead of Walking All the Way to Canada by Vanessa 2/5/18 Autostraddle
I appreciate this article. She shares an honest story about not finishing the PCT. For reasons that need to be brought out in the open.
It is also a good reminder that there are people who don't finish the PCT and those stories are not as popular as the ones about people who are completing the PCT. I think we do a disservice by not listening to all the stories.
Not everyone survives hiking the PCT. Scout
I saw this article this evening and I thought it was important to share.
Inside the Mind of Thru-Hiking's Most Devious Con Man, I think the title says it all. In this age of social media I think it is important to be informed.
I am an avid walker and hiker. My favorite is a long hike. I also enjoy taking off and going on a meandering walk for a few hours. I've hiked rim to rim in the Grand Canyon and I did 3 Burning Boot Walks on Vancouver Island.