Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day Two-13.1 Miles

Whoever thought it was a good idea to start long walks early in the morning is half right. It's a good IDEA, in practice, it could use some work.

With the waking up at 5:45 the next day, and general denial about how early it was and the distance facing me that day, it was all I could do to walk. As in stand up. My knees had swelled, my legs (even with the stretching throughout the evening) were stiff, and my head couldn't quite understand why anyone would get up this friggen early in the morning.

But get up we did. Packed the stuff, got dressed, took down our tent, took the bags up to the truck, then were faced with an issue. It was nearly 7:15, and the breakfast lines were loooooong. About 100+ people were in each line. Luckily, for those who didn't want eggs (ew) and sausage (yum) there was a much shorter cereal line, where oatmeal was served. Oatmeal is a great breakfast, sticks to the ribs, so that's the line I hobbled up to. There was a great tradition that I learned while eating. About 10 bicycle officers from San Jose were riding along with the walkers (some with speakers and music on the back of their bikes). My favorite was the gentleman who acquired a lady's pink tutu and wore for the duration of the Sunday walk. Every time a group of officers came into the hall to eat their breakfast, they received a round of applause. I learned from an officer the day before that some were on duty, some took vacation days, others came in on their days off to help out on the walk. Thanks, San Jose Police-you guys are awesome!

After stretching for a few minutes, I hit the road about 7:50. The first part of the walk was up the hill to the top of McLaren park. There were stairs and hills and every single person there complained of aches and pains and hills. Oh, the hills! We had more hills on the second day then the first, keeping in mind on the first day we walked from the shore up the hill to the Golden Gate Bridge. Easily the first mile was uphill. Traumatic experience.

The cheering stations on the second day were a lot of fun. My favorite group was the "Hookers for Hooters" group-a collection of ladies dressed sexily who patted all the men on the butt as they walked by. There was a van decorated as a yacht whose driver was a cruise director. Another was the Mystery Van with Velma and Wilma dancing in their 70's gear. Two SUVs of women as butterflies had handiwipes along the way-a welcome cleaning item! And then there were the people who randomly came out to cheer us on. The family on the stoop with a little girl holding a sign saying "Go walkers!" The man holding a baby who waved at us as we went by. People in windows, smiling and waving. The man by his front window playing the ukulele and singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". And the people at the cheering stations who yelled "thank you walkers!" Every time I heard thank you, I teared.

The route was different on day 2, though we went through some same neighborhoods. We passed Rich W.'s house (hi Rich and Shelly!) by a block. Spent time walking up the Guerrero hill because Mission was closed off for Sunday City Streets. Thought long and hard about dropping in at Tartine for a croissant, until I saw the line was halfway down the block. Ate more of the graham cracker peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (super-yum). We went up the Duboce hill and then up onto Haight by the new Mint. Passed by Dwayne's place, and then up to Alamo Square. Great place to stop for lunch, horrible hill to walk up. Lunch was at the 7.3 mile mark-only 5.8 miles left!

And those 5.8 miles were amazing. As in, it was amazing that I was able to continue walking for that much longer. My feet hurt. I could feel the toenails bumping the front of my shoe with each step. The bottoms of my feet felt like they were being peeled off. My knees complained with each step up and down the curb. Numb would have been a relief. Advil-almost cut out the pain, but more dulled it to a soft knifing. We walked down Market for a long time. Here's what's great about Market-the most interesting things are said by people walking past you. Here's what's disturbing about Market-you don't want to hear what the people are saying.

And there are lights. Every friggin' light was red. So I would have to stop and forget how to walk until the light turned green, when the only thought in my head was "are you serious? I'm not there yet?"

Then there is the Embarcadero. LOVE the Embarcadero. No lights. People move (if you know how to make them). And I have walked that route so many times, I know how far it is to the end. Just had to get to Beach St., then past the Aquatic Park and up that last hill to the end.

I nearly gave up.

There was a sweeper van that stopped ahead of me on the Embarcadero to cheer with a group. I saw the van. I could have waved it down and gotten in and listened to my body and been done with the whole thing. The temptation was so strong, I was so tired and sore, it nearly broke me.

Then, as I'm walking down Beach St., my mom called. She was at the end and wanted to know if I needed someone to walk the last part with. Mom met me at the Aquatic Park. Seeing her, knowing she was there for me, having her hold my hand up the last hill, was the best feeling that weekend. She was there when others couldn't make it, and the thing I needed most at that point was a familiar face who could love me and help me make it through to the end.

I made it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day One- 26.2 Miles

Woke up to the alarm at 5:oo am. On a Saturday. 5:00. During Summer Break. I was tired. And nervous. Still. Ran around the house, getting the last few things together, putting on my walking gear, filling water bottles. Good thing I made a to do list the night before-post-its and the bedroom mirror are a great combo! Woke mom up, and we drove through the fog into the Marina.

When arriving before 6:00am at a large walk, here are a few things to know:
1. Where to get dropped off (look for large inflatables).
2. Where to deposit your luggage.
3. Where is the mother-loving coffee.

Then join the group in front of the stage and stretch while waiting to see what is going to happen next.

What happened next changed my entire perspective on the walk.

Six people stood on the stage and told their personal stories. The first lady told about a woman she met while working in a clinic who beat cancer once then passed away this April. The second was a man whose mother has fought and lost to cancer. The one that stuck with me was the single mother who was 23 when she found out she had cancer. She was hardly able to finish her story, which left none of us with a dry eye. By the time the group finished their stories, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but was surprised by the number of people who attended. There was a reported 3,200 people on the walk. Most were older women, a few men with their partners, and groups of families-fathers with their adult daughters walking with picture of deceased mothers on their shirts. Touching were the people who listed the people on whose behalf they were walking. Parents, friends, grandparents, sisters, aunts, cousins, the list went on.

That was the time when what I was doing changed. It went from something about me to more then me. That is, I started out with some pretty self involved, though totally reasonable. I wanted to see if I could go from couch potato to distance walker in just 4 months. After listening to the stories, and empathizing with people who had been through far more then I have experienced thus far, this went beyond just me and became about the people who need treatment and support with a disease which fundamentally affects people at the deepest level.

The walk itself was a beautiful route-across the Golden Gate Bridge, through Sausilito, lunch at the 9.3 mile spot, walking back along the waterfront to the bridge, crossing with the tourists and into the wind, along Lincoln Blvd. to the Inner Richmond, down across the park, out the panhandle, through the Haight, down the Castro, past Dolores Park, into Excelsior and then to McLaren Park. I couldn't tell you the exact streets we walked, or even articulate each scenic view we took in. I can tell you I should have sat down a little more often, drank an amazing amount of water, and talked with a few people along the way. I didn't find one person to keep pace with, which was a little disappointing. The last 10 miles were tough-the hills on Guerrero, walking seemingly forever across the Excelsior and not knowing the area well enough to judge how much further. Four things made it sustainable-Mom joining me for a few blocks in the Richmond, Heather with her shiny sun balloon on the way into Golden Gate Park, Sarah and Sarah in Dolores Park, and the group waiting in the cold, windy, exposed Crocker Amazon Playground at the end of the route. Charlotte, who has been my walking companion on some serious walks, Ka Yun who has been the best cheerleader ever, Christine who planned her entire San Fran trip around my walk (ok-that's not true, but it sounds good!), Edna, who wouldn't let me slack off on our East Bay jaunts, and Marcie, who always expresses her support and amazement that anyone would want to walk this far (I believe the exact words were to the effect of "That's just crazy to walk that far!")

Yes, I made it across the finish line. Personal time-well, I didn't do a great job with the stop watch. The walk started at 7:00 am, I was on the trail about 7:07 (it took that long to get everyone out onto the course), and got into the end around 5:20ish. We'll call that an even 10 hour day of walking. Just a little bit over my 18 minute pace, which I'm going to keep as a goal. But it's going to take a few more tries to get to that level.

After the BEST shower of my life, I found my tent-mate, and we headed into sleep. My body was so tired I yawned wide enough to dislocate my jaw. Only on the left side-and my mouth was stuck open for a few minutes. A panicked walk towards the medical tent got me relaxed enough for the jaw to click back into place, thank goodness. Walking with TMJ was not on my list of fun things to do. I fell asleep around 9:30, and after a few wake-up to roll over episodes, heard people around me waking at 5:45. But that's Day 2, and another story.

Prequel: day -0.5

Prequel: Day -0.5

Friday night my Mom came up to the city and we cooked a dinner of pasta with meat sauce and a big salad. Char came over and we shared a yummy dinner. It was nice to sit and chat and finish re-organizing the furniture in my room. (I moved out the desk and a little bookcase in favor of a long, low shelf and more space. Now I am thinking about painting my room, though it's a bigger project then I expect. Maybe I should get more framed pictures.) It was great to have someone there, as I started to get nervous. As is NERVOUS-there aren't words to describe the panic-what if I forgot how to walk? What if I can't make it? What if I get a bad tent-mate? What if there's no one to talk to?

It was hard to get calmed down to fall asleep. But I finally fell asleep. After 11. Oh, boy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

14.5 hours

There are 14.5 hours until the start of the walk. Tomorrow by this time, I should be headed toward or crossing the finish line. The group at the end who will be waiting for me is amazing to consider-at the end of 26.2 miles, a contingency of friends will be there to tell me "you made it 2/3 of the way to the end!"

I'm nervous and excited all at once. I've been working this week, trying to get my bedroom cleaned up/organized enough to get rid of my desk (no more home office!), and avoiding the assigned 2 mile walks. On the other hand, I just cartwheeled a 72 pound box up the front steps. Oh, and the kid I worked with today and I had a race, and I only lost to him by 3 seconds ( in flip flops, not that I could have run faster).

So tonight will be a nice pasta dinner with Mom and Char and Anne. Mom is going to stay over and drive me over to Fort Mason in the morning ( way to go mom-5:30/6:00 arrival time!). Gotta remember to cut the toenails and pack the extra pair of shoes.

I love you guys. Keep me in your thoughts this weekend-I'm going to finish the first day in under 8.5 hours! That's the goal, and I'm sticking with it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30

It's hard to believe in 10 days I'll be attempting the 39.3 mile weekend. Not attempting-completing with flying colors. This has taken such large chunks of time. Time seems to be the thing that has been a major challenge. As you know, I am a very popular person. In fact, it has gotten so bad that I had to get bodyguards for the paparazzi because they are getting mobbed.

Well, that may be stretching it. Just a bit.

I do like to have a busy schedule. Freud would say I fear death, or something disturbing about my father. My idea is that I like to keep busy because I was so shy as a kid and feel like I missed out on a lot of potential friend time. There's no hidden desperate quality to my schedule (as some psychoanalysts may be quick to conclude). It's born out of a true desire to enjoy life to it's fullest. For those who feel like it takes forever to find time with me-I'm worth the wait. For those who think this sounds rather narcissistic, I agree. However, I've wandered away from my point.

My point is this-time. Last weekend my best friend, someone who has been in my life since we were both 14, was married. It was a beautiful ceremony. Intimate and thoughtful, just like Kacey and Rich. I had the honor of standing up with the bride, so my weekend consisted of spending time with the whole family and helping Kacey's mom breathe. The weekend was busy, and I completed zero walks on Saturday and Sunday. Luckily, Monday was my last day of work before summer. I was able to get home at a reasonable hour, and clock 10 miles in about 3 hours. My right knee has been sore since the kneecap popped out of joint a few weeks ago, so each time I walk, I ice it immediately afterwards. The 10 miles were easy-I took the same route as the last 10 mile day, only this time reversed. This lead to more interesting scenery at the end of the walk, and a greater sense of accomplishment. The biggest change was going from mostly downhill to mostly uphill.

The 5 miles on Tuesday (first day of summer break!) were around Lake Merritt with Edna. It was warm, I was sleepy, and we got the walk done. Company makes a big difference in these walks-I would have given up after the first lap, but had to make it seem like I wanted to do the full 5 miles for Edna's sake. We'll stick with that story for a while.

Now I taper. Tomorrow is 3 miles-that will take less then an hour. This weekend is 5 and 3-an easy accomplishment when I'll be in Tahoe with friends who like to hike.

And now-the single digit countdown begins. (Dum dum dummmm)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

32 Miles Means I'm nearly there!

It's hard to believe I managed 32 miles last weekend. The 22 mile day was daunting-just as difficult mentally as physically. I've not quite figured out why that is the case. Something about the distance and going solo for most of it means I get a little bored but there's more there I can't quite get my finger on. Perhaps it's the loneliness-even around people it feels somewhat isolating.

The 10 miles on Sunday was again accompanied by Charlotte, who both made it through a long weekend of walking and kept my spirits up. We took a large loop up 7th Ave. (not nearly as steep as anticipated) to the top of Glen Canyon; took Portola through West Portal and onto Sloat; passed the concert-goers for Stern Grove; hoofed down to the beach; followed the shore to Golden Gate Park; stopped off for beer and lunch at Park Chalet (because, I mean, it was beautiful and a beer sounded good); then once again up MLK to my house. That route is a nice one-mostly downhill and flat for the last 7 miles. Next time I may try the opposite direction, just to try the uphill over distance factor.

Something I'm not sure I mentioned on the last post-took a side path along the coast in the Presidio on Saturday. There's a path that drops down past one of the many batteries (ex-big gun sites) and takes one nearer the coast north of Baker Beach. Didn't really think about it at the time, but there ended up being a lot of steps. Not as many as the Dipsea, but a lot. It reminded me that 1. steps are evil and 2. if I want to try the double Dipsea this summer, I better start training on steps. There are some pretty steps in my neighborhood (see http://www.tiledsteps.org/ ). That's 162 stairs-going up and down 4 times should approximate the Dipsea stairs. Anyone want to join?

Took a 3.5 mile walk yesterday out in Concord. The Iron Horse Trail has the most amazing thing-it's marked every .25 mile so you know how far you have gone. The trail where I pick it up (near a school) is flat and not terribly shady, but it's quiet and there is a good bit of bike traffic, so it feels safe. A pedestrian bridge is being built over Treat by the Bart station. It's a dramatic structure, reminds me of the rib cage of a dinosaur. Sorry-no pictures currently posted online for a link.

The big walk is only 2.4 weeks away. This weekend training will be adjusted to account for a fantastic event-my best friend Kacey is getting married! She paid me the compliment of making me her Maid of Honor, so I'll be with her family all weekend, helping where I can and offering comic relief as needed. I'm so excited! This means the 10 mile walk for Saturday will take place Sunday evening when I get home, and I'll do the 5 miles on Monday. After that, it's reduced distance for the next two weeks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

22 Miles

For some reason 22 miles seemed really far. Not much further then I had already walked, since I finished the 21 mile day a few weeks ago. 22 miles just seemed far. The high winds were a mental deterrent as well. The wind blew so hard along the Presidio that a few times I thought I would loose my footing.


It got done. Thanks to Char for meeting me at the 14th mile and getting me through to the end. One little ankle roll on Mission St.-a little stiff this morning but not too bad. We ran into some friends in the Lower Haight, and picked out pretty yellow house colors in the Upper Haight.

Total walking time: about 7 hours 34 minutes.

The new best thing to do after a long walk: a beer on the couch and some Little Britain on DVD.

Next up, 10 miles today. Then I start to taper.

Only 20 more days to the walk!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Alright. It's 8:30. I've procrastinated on the computer for the last half hour. I'm leaving for my walk now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

22 Miles tomorrow

I'm walking 22 miles tomorrow. Gulp.

The only thought in my head right now is "Please just let me get through this alive".

I'll be fine. I'll be fine. I'll be fine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I got a whole list of what to expect on the walk. If you are curious about the event itself (other then the route-don't have that), check out the link:


Click on the "Cheering Stations" for some ideas about where I'll be:


Oh, dear, I'm going to have to climb the Dolores St. hill at the end of the walk. Bonus points to whoever has coffee for me along the route-forget water, I'm gonna need something stronger!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I miss you!

But that doesn't stop time from passing.

Participated in the Relay For Life last weekend-another great organization that raises money for breast cancer research. My best friend Kacey's mother runs a team annually (go Marlene!). Marlene is a survivor, and one of the most dedicated survivors I know. Her fundraising team came in 5th this year. Particularly amazing given the top 4 all had corporate sponsors-Marlene's Maverick's came from friends and family.

Which brings me to my latest thought. The thing I was most worried about at the start of this event was the fundraising commitment. $1800 is a lot of money. Through private donations, that is friends and family who have been generous beyond my expectations, I have raised over $2000. This is an enormous sum-more then some families live off of in a single month.

Thank you again for all your support and love.

Last weekend was 10 and 5 miles. Next weekend is 22 and 10. Anyone want to take a few miles and keep me company?

Also, if you want to be at the finish line on Saturday, July 10 email me. A friend is organizing a cheering squad for the finish line that day. Or Sunday July 11-I'll need some happy smiley faces then, too. And I will accept champagne and massages.

Monday, June 7, 2010

31 miles

The weekend ended on 31.8 miles total. I trust gmap-pedometer.com (one of the best referrals I have gotten on this quest). Other great recommendation: mint chewing gum. Pop in a piece when tired and drink some plain water while the minty freshness is in your mouth. Easy pick-me-up.

The 10 miles were a push on Sunday. My legs were feeling it-my hamstrings have been tight, and the weekend pointed that out. I can tell when I'm getting tired because my ankles turn more easily (the right one went twice, though no injury or stiffness). The muscle tone is great-I feel individual leg muscles as I walk uphill, rather then general work in the leg area. Less sun, more fog, so it was cooler and more comfotable to keep the jacket on. Due to a little confusion on the route, I ended up improvising a way home, which meant I walked through a part of the Presidio I've never walked through. Adventure!

Total walking time on the 10 miles was about 4 hours. Slower then I had been planning on, way below the 20 minute mile mark. Tiredness and stiffness contributed to that time. It means I do need to go on the daily walks to keep my endurance up. Monday-30 minute recovery stretch walk. Going to have to get some more work done to get out of work at a reasonable hour tonight!

Anyone feel like walking this week?

And if you read this far-here is the most amazing news of all. Due to a donation from my mom's friend Terri, the fundraising minimum has been met! That means that the kindness and generosity of the people in my life have helped me raise an amazing amount of money for a worthy cause! Scott-if you read this-you are not off the hook. My parents have been kind in their donations, my brothers have failed to show their financial support. So let Scott know that he needs to step up and open that wallet of his (it tends to be stuck shut when these opportunities arise). Scott, I love you. Now man up.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

20 Miles

You know, I just did the map for this walk, and realized we extended the walk a little further then I originally thought. Worked out to about 21 miles. That explains why it took longer then anticipated. Longer as in we left at 9ish and got home after 5.

The route (click the title) was basically across the city, follow the beach until you hit the ball park, then cut west. It sounds simple, takes us through areas of the City people come from all over the world to visit, and keeps us in areas with access to things like water and restrooms.

Weather was amazing. A heavy fog sat along the coast, holding in heat and humidity. The humidity I could do without, the fog was beautiful. Here's what you can imagine-walking along a dirt trail on Lands End, coming to the crest of a ridge, and getting the first glimpse of the ocean which is about 100 feet below you. Now, as you proceed down the path, you see a break in the fog along the water, and the towers from the Golden Gate Bridge emerge from the top of the cloud bank. You can see only fog, water, tower tips, and the expanding sky. It was a beautiful sight.

The distance was long, and not having a strong feeling for mileage was challenging. Of course, "you have to challenge your mind as well as your body" (thanks for that lesson, Napoleon Dynamite). Ka Yun had a hard time with the people on the pavement-Embarcadero was crowded with the tourist season underway-though pushing for a faster speed wasn't in the cards for me at that point. Stopped at Reds Java House for burgers (umm, burger) for lunch, then stretched out in Duboce Park.

A few lessons:
1. Keep drinking water and eating snakes.
2. It's ok to take a break along the way.
3. Sunscreen. Lots of it. Put it on more then once. (Areas with a sunburn: under my neck, top of my arms, nose, lip, scalp, top of the forehead.)

BIG thank you to Ka Yun for accompanying me on this trip. She didn't totally know what she was getting into, though she did a great job and didn't whine enough for me to hit her (that was the deal, after all).

End of the day: nice shower, had a few friends over to help me eat some leftovers, and I slept late-10:30 am! Now, I gotta get off for the 9ish miles to do today. Taking the shuffle for potcasts and putting on LOTS of sunscreen.

Friday, June 4, 2010

For Orielle

Thursday, June 3. Only 37 days left until the walk. I'm supposed to be in the best shape so far, per the weekly emails I receive from the Avon Walk people. Since I've only done weekend walks for the past few weeks, I'm pretty sure I'm close, but can do better.

In an effort to keep the training on course, we extended today's walk. Bonus-got to walk with Orielle. She's a coworker and friend since grad school. The best thing about spending time with Orielle is the laughter. Something about our chemistry leads to us cracking each other up. As in grabbing our sides, peeing our pants funny.

We didn't make any major funnies on this trip, just some minor hilarities. What we did make is plans for the summer. A camping trip with some rafting (gotta love the ability to get away mid week), pinball day, and paddle boating on the reservoir.

We managed to complete two loops around the reservoir (5.4 miles), in a reasonable amount of time (1:41).

The cool ending to the day was going in for a haircut at the salon school and finding out the supervisor is also doing the Avon Walk! She was great to talk to (we decided we are kindred spirits) and I'm hoping to run into her at the walk.

Tomorrow-20 miles!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend was a blast. I went camping with a group of friends who are fun to hang out with. We got in a nice hike, which was great, meaning yes, even camping over Memorial Day, I got some walking in.

The best part was the mini rafting trip. Mini because in the two plus hours we spent on the trip, we realistically spent about 20-25 minutes on each run. It was great-nice little Class II/III rapids.

Anywho, I've got another brisk 4 miler under my belt. Tomorrow is a cross-training day, still need a cross-training exercise. Now that my sketch class is over, I can walk on Thursdays up to the walk. This weekend is the last of two long walk weekends. This weekend is 20 and 10 miles. Ka Yun is joining me for the walk-if she and I can both make it!

For the route, check this out:


See you on the flipside! (Not even sure what that means anymore.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Whats with this donation stuff?

While walking itself is a challenge, asking friends and family for money is downright uncomfortable. It's hard to escape the fact that we are in a down economy and people are being thoughtful about where their money goes.

Unfortunately, breast cancer doesn't know this. The reason why I chose the Avon organization is because money goes to treatment for low-income men and women with breast cancer. The people most vulnerable to economic hardships should not be excluded from receiving treatment.

So I did a little digging. I wanted to know the direct impact of the money I raise for this organization. Here's what I learned:

$10 can help a breast cancer patient in need get transportation to treatment to keep her/his recovery on track.
$25 can purchase test tubes and similar supplies for a breast cancer research laboratory.
$35 can help make sure a homebound breast cancer patient will receive seven nutritious and healthy meals while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.
$100 can help an uninsured patient get access life-saving tests, such as a mammogram to help determine if a woman has breast cancer or a bone scan to see if breast cancer has spread.
$250 can help an uninsured breast cancer patient access a chemotherapy treatment, or help a new patient access a pre-treatment work-up, including x-rays and lab work as they prepare for their cancer treatments.
$1,000 can help a patient access a MRI to help determine if a mass is malignant or benign, or a biopsy of breast tissue to see if cancer cells are present.

You see, each dollar we raise through the Avon Walks is so important in making sure that everyone can get the care they need. Every dollar we raise is so important because every dollar has the potential to help someone!

If you haven't had a chance to donate, or just haven't gotten around to it yet, please take a few minutes and cross that off your list now.

Click on "Donate Now"
Enter my first and last name.

Thank you!

Monday, May 24, 2010

6 mile Sunday

After that LOOOONG walk on Saturday, what did I do Sunday? Took another walk, of course!

Things to be glad of: No rain during the walk. Good company. Bitingly cold wind kept us from overheating.

Things to keep an eye out for: Dog poo on the grass in Golden Gate Park (seriously people, do we have to remind you that the park is not a giant doggie poo depository?).

Things to work on: Stretching out them hamstrings. At my massage yesterday, the feedback I got was "for goodness sake, keep stretching!".

Next Goal: Get in the 30 minute walk on Monday (hard to do-work just exploded again). Get in at least a little walk on Tuesday. I managed to sell all of my Giant's tickets-thanks to those who purchased them. The game on Wednesday is grossing me almost $70 toward my fundraising goal.

There are 47 days remaining to meet my fundraising goal. It's incredible that so many people have helped me to get this far into fundraising-only $700 left to meet the minimum! I need to make the minimum to participate in the walk itself. Thanks to all of the generous donors who have contributed time, advice, happy thoughts, or finances. I am touched by the love and support from my friends and family.

If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, it's not too late!
Click on "donate now" and put in my first and last name.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

17 Mile Saturday

After a week (yes folks, a whole week) of not walking, I'm out for a new record-setting walk. 17 miles ain't just a drive in Carmel.

Today was part of a training walk set up by the Avon Walk group. They call it a "Route Preview Day", meaning part of the route is, well, you get it. I signed up with the understanding the walk was only 13 miles, and knowing on my training schedule was 17 miles. So I started from my house, walked up to Sports Basement in the Presidio, then headed out with the second group.

Mer-thanks for the Nuun idea. I bought a tube before setting off, and it helped. The fingers were thick by the end of the day, but not so bad as it's been.

The link to the route is on the title. I made friends with a lady on the trail, and we walked the route together. My stamina was better, which helped her keep going for the last few miles. My hips are doing better and were still tight by the end.

Oh, and that was the first time in my memory I've ever walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The best part- the massage at National Holistic Institute (nhi.edu) at the end of the walk. The guy who did my massage had helped out at the Escape from Alcatraz a few weeks prior. My thighs were worked so well, I almost fell asleep. Heaven!

Tomorrow: 8 miles, then a trip south for a bridal shower.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Double Dipsea: Take 1

Hey all. Sorry for the delay in posting. Here's the latest:

Work and sketch acting class are picking up, so I've had to adjust my walking schedule. Distances have increased-brisk and moderate walks are now 4 miles, with 30 minute recovery walks on Monday. My plan for tomorrow is to take a walk after the kids are out.

Saturday was the attempt at the double Dipsea. If you've never heard of the trail, click on the title. Basics-start with 670+ steps broken over three flights.

To be clear-the first mile of the hike took over 35 minutes. My average first mile is now 16 or so minutes on my training walks. New curses were invented. Most common was "those darn (insert another word here) stairs".

The hike got better after that. We went down the hill, and found a nice area where the trail was washed out. Here is Charlotte walking across the creek in the path:

The actual washed out area necessitated sliding down part of the hill on my rear. Then I climbed over a drainage pipe. Upon emerging at the end of that section, we noticed the "Trail Closed" sign. In our defense, there was no partner sign where that section of the trail started. We checked on the way back.

After reaching Muir Woods (and finding another bridge washed out), we took a pit stop and regrouped. It took longer to finish the first two miles then we anticipated, and I had to get back into the City by 3 for rehearsal. Luckily, there was a map with a suggested loop up the fire road and down the Ben Johnson trail back into Muir Woods. FYI-great way to avoid paying the $5 entrance fee to Muir Woods. Just know you are going up a hill for about 2 miles.

The advantages of hiking up a hill labeled "Cardiac Hill" is that you get to see beautiful animals like these (yes there are two).

The bad news is that it's hard work. Big surprise. We took a break around 11:15. Mmm. Snacks. Lots of laughter. Due to the statute established at the time, none of those pictures will be shown.

After that we found the cutoff to Ben Johnson trail, and headed down the hill. Only a few switchbacks and stairs. Lots more people, including the VERY pregnant lady hiking up the hill. We dropped down into Muir Woods, took another pit stop, and headed up the hill. Going down the stairs at the end was a little easier then going up. Both of us experienced jelly knees at the end of the hike.

While we didn't make the double Dipsea (or even a single), we did manage about 8 miles in 4 hours 48 minutes walking time (over 5 hours total). The deli sandwiches at the market in Mill Valley were tasty.

Oh, and I made it home in time for rehearsal. No shower-sorry to my partner for that.

Sunday-got in 8 miles around the Bay to Breakers craziness. Next weekend-17 and 8 miles. Anyone want to join next Sunday?

Milestone: I've gotten half-way to my fundraising goal! I'm working on planning a happy hour for June 12, so keep your calendars open and be on the lookout for an invite.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

20 mile weekend

I did it! 20 miles (plus) this weekend.

Thanks to Char for the accompaniment. The last four miles today were tough-my knees and hip joints are sore. I've gotten some great suggestions (mostly ice it).

Up next are a few walks this week, donating blood tomorrow (if they take it), and 15 plus 8 miles for next weekend. Mapping out the next walk-anyone want to join me for part of the walk? Going to avoid Bay to Breakers on Sunday-thinking about the Dipsea trail (out and back) for Saturday.

Click on the title to see today's route.

Best sight today: walked through the AIDS Memorial Grove for the first time. Beautiful.

Anyone want to get together for a bonfire on the beach soon? There can't be too many more "rainyish" days left this spring. I'll post some dates and let me know if you want to join!

Halfway there on the fundraising! Thanks, friends!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday the 8th

It is a windy day in the City. Windy as in gusts are currently 20+ miles per hour. Low clouds are hurried across the sky. Sun comes and goes.

My plan was to walk down to the ocean, north along the coast to the Golden Gate Bridge, and then come back the same route. Given the wind, I decided to look for a route that kept me inland rather then along the coast. To see the route click on the title of the post or go to http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3710233

Lessons applied: Ate breakfast. Stretched before I went. Stretched along the route. Brought snacks-cliff bar and nuts. Drank water slower then last time. Put the uphill at the end of the walk to break up the monotony. Chewing mint gum gave me a second wind at about the 9 mile mark. Drinking water through the gum increased the freshness.

Lessons learned: New shoes needed a little more breaking-in time. Thicker socks are nice in theory, but seem to pinch the toes in reality. I've got a few different pairs to try. About a third of the way along the walk, I added Gatorade to my Camelpack. It helped a bit with the finger swelling. Also, my iShuffle died. Not battery-the buttons stopped working. On the plus side, I priced out new Shuffles last week, and can get a new one with more memory for less then a hundred bucks. On the minus side, I already spent my fun money on a second pair of shoes, good walking pants, socks, a hydration system, etc. So, I'll practice walking without music or podcasts. I suspect the podcasts have been slowing me down (not a fast enough tempo).

Total walking time: 4 hours 10 minutes (approx.)
Total time with breaks: 4 hours 35 minutes (I did go into the pet store and make a few short pit-stops).
Total distance: 13.2 miles
MPH avg: 3.17

I'm starting to suspect my 18 minute MPH goal may be an unattainable goal. I'm pretty sure I can make it if I only measure actual walking time.

It's interesting how the first 4 miles are really easy, and about mile 9/10 is where I start to get tired. Maybe I need to stop and take a break around mile 8. Good to know that I can pull off a half-marathon distance. It's getting easier!

Time to finish my post-walk beer.

Friday, May 7, 2010

13 miles

It's 11:24 pm, Friday evening.

I am sleepy and watching The Whitest Kids You Know sketch show.

Chloe the cat is on my chest, curled up and purring.

I'm excited for the long walk tomorrow. This time, I'm going to eat breakfast before I go. Any suggestions for handling finger bloating? I'm still trying to figure out the right ratio of food to miles-13 miles is about 4-4.5 hours, so how many calories do I need to consume?

Any ideas, I'll take 'em.

Catch you on the flipside.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

12 miles!

12 miles (Actually per gmap-pedometer, 13.5. Oops).


Route: Left the house, walked along MLK to the beach. Ocean Beach north. Passed Cliff House and took the Land's End trial. Through Sea Cliff, then up the Presidio along Lincoln Blvd. to the Golden Gate Bridge. Took a right, walked down to Chrissy Field. Along to Marina Green and past Fort Mason. Down Van Ness, wove over to Hyde. Took Hyde until it became 7th St., and ended at Harrison.

The walk: Weather worked out. Thank you, Mother Nature, for raining only during the week. Sunscreen was needed, and applied twice. Broke in my Camelpack. Emptied it twice. Took the iShuffle, which is starting to break down. Or maybe it's iTunes that is breaking down. Half the time when I plug in the shuffle, iTunes doesn't recognize it, and I end up having to restart the computer. I'm listening to podcasts. Specifically, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, The Now Show from the BBC, and Sound of Young America. An interview with Louis CK was great, and I'm part way through an interview with Nick Hornby. Since no headsets are allowed on the walk, I didn't listen the whole time. Music or podcast is better during the cityish part of the walk-it drowns out the cars and busses. Nature has it's own soundtrack-it doesn't need help.

Along the way, I found myself wanting to know the distance completed and distance remaining. Having identified "chunks" in my head (such as Chrissy Field) it was easy to think about the walk in terms of sections. It would have been helpful to know when I hit the half-way point. It was hard to keep walking, knowing I had a deadline (haircut at 1:30), when I was tired and needed a break. For the next walk, I'm going to have food for the trail (skipped breakfast-bad idea) and make sure restrooms are available.

Success: Made it up the Land's End stairs (I counted 111, but could be off) WITHOUT STOPPING!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Little Buddy

I made a new friend on today's walk. It wasn't deliberate. My friend Sean brought him along. My new friend fit right in.

It was a lovely walk. The rain stopped for awhile this evening. Sean brought Carlos over. After a detour to the library, we walked into the park. Wind was cold and blowy. My face went numb by the time we got to the Bison Paddock.

Carlos kept my heart warm.

He is curious about the natural world. Carlos stopped along the way to inspect gopher holes. He said hi to some of the people we passed.

It's the peeing on the trees that gives Carlos away. As if you couldn't guess. My friends are too smart to be fooled by deliberate misinformation.

Gotta get in a quick 4 miles tomorrow before sketch class. Then, the big weekend walks start. Saturday is 12 miles (going solo). Sunday is 6 miles (thanks for the company, Ka Yun).

Anyone want to join me for part of the long walk (Saturdays get longer until I hit 17 miles on the 23rd), let me know! I'd be happy to have you join me for a few miles.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Auntie K's Tale

Gather around, little ones. Aunt K is going to tell you a story. This story really happened to Aunt K. (Sarah, please stop poking your brother.) No, this is not the story of Aunt K getting kicked out of Disneyland. You heard it yesterday. (George, honey, boogers are for flicking, not eating.)

On Aunt K's first day of high school, she was so excited. She woke up early. She put on her favorite pair of jeans and her pretty new shirt. Since high school was too far to walk, Aunt K rode her bike. Aunt K knew how to get there-down the road, take the bike path, and end up at school. What Aunt K didn't know (George, flick) was that she could lock her bike in the back of school, closer to her locker and without having to go around to the front.

Kids, I made a reenactment of that day. (Who can explain reenactment? No, Sarah. It's not about acting out a wee.)

Here is the picture* of me riding to school:

Now I didn't know how to get to the bike cage. Aunt K decided to ride down the driveway. The only problem with that was no other people were riding their bikes on the driveway. Aunt K didn't know what to think. While she was looking around, she rode over speed bumps. On the third speed bump in, Aunt K had a problem.

Aunt K fell off her bike. Hard.

She fell on her knee. This was very painful.

Luckily, people stopped. A friend took Aunt K's bike into the bike cage. Another person helped her into the office for an ice pack. In the office, her neighbor called her house. Great-Uncle Wes (no, he doesn't smell funny. He just eats a lot of peanuts) came and took Aunt K to the doctor. She had a bad bruise and had to use crutches to walk for 2 weeks. Aunt K even missed two weeks of swim practice, having to wait until the swelling went down in her knee before she could go into the water.

Why is Aunt K telling you this story now? To show you that given her history of silly injuries (Sarah, hurting yourself during line dancing doesn't make you retarded. The word is ridiculous.) Aunt K is somewhat surprised she is still walking this far into her training.

And walking she is. Aunt K missed Monday and Tuesday, and managed to squeeze in a quick 2.7 miles in Lafayette after a long meeting today. There's a real question about her ability to fit in any walk tomorrow-late meeting and starting a class after work. So Aunt K needs a swift kick in the patooty to remind her that this is a priority.

Alright kids. Let's go find some swings.

*Not actual bike, speed bump, or physical location. In fact, these pictures are from the opposite side of the country. No animals or people were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

10 miles!

Three things I learned on the first 10 mile walk of my life.

1. Start early. People who organize things will bring you coffee and bagels. Better to eat on your own, but the coffee helped with the energy to start.

2. It's better with people. I met some nice people to walk with. A mother-daughter pair did the last 5 miles with me, making the end of the walk go much faster.

3. Do it pretty. We started in the Presidio, went up the hill, down Arguello, and into Golden Gate Park. Then we had a restroom break and headed back. The weather was clear and the air was warm. It is a perfect San Francisco day.

Tomorrow is a "little" 6 miles. Next weekend is a reduced load, (5 and 3 miles), then the big walks start to kick in.

All that, and I don't need a nap.

Lunch will be great.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I have to admit, I took two days off. Sunday was a short walk to the morning brunch. Monday was nothing. So today after work, I realllllly didn't want to go for a walk. I sat on the couch, ate some mixed nuts, and contemplated sitting on the couch.

Seriously contemplated. Procratinated on the internet. Realized the Shuffle was low on juice and charged it.

Then realized it was 7, and time to decide.

3 miles. 50 minutes.

And I liked it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Eight Miler

I did 8 miles on Thursday.

Hiking. Over rocky and sometimes washed-out or creek-like trails.

It felt great. Can't believe I made it.

Props to The Killers and Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. Both bands came into the music rotation at just the right time.

8 miles. Combined with the 5 miles I almost got through today (rain and no rain coat), that's half of the first day's distance. A third of the total ground covered.

Looks like I'll make it. Look how far I've come now, baby!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Walking through Marlborough

Best cross-country trip in the past 9 months! I made each flight, and landed nearly on-time. Yeah!

Today's walk is a little different. I'm on the east coast, in Marlborough outside of Boston. (Hey stalkers-don't get too excited. People live in my house when I'm not there.)

Total distance via gmap-pedometer.com: 3.27 miles
Total time: 60 minutes

Interesting sights: There are a lot of individual war memorials in the 4 blocks of downtown Marlborough. Every block or so it seems there is a mini-park (think parklet size) with a bronze figure. Houses are clapboard on the outside, with lovely details in the buildings. The businesses are local-type: a realtor, some pizza places, a Thai restaurant, local police station. A few empty storefronts, but not enough to make it feel abandoned. This is a nice town. People all shared a hello as I walked by, though I noticed I was a bit younger then the average pedestrian. Of course, it is Wednesday during working hours.

Another interest I have is in old graveyards. I find walking through and reading about the people who lived in a community fascinating. You can learn about families, life expectancy, poetry, and expectations. Grabbing the camera for some exploring is next on the list. That or enjoying the A/C and watching the Big Lebowski.

Tomorrow and Friday I am will take the weekend's prescribed walks. That's 8 miles and 5 miles. 5 miles doesn't sound so long. 8 miles sounds far. Alison is loaning me her car tomorrow, so the plan is to research some hikes in the area and have an adventure.

Hello, Massachusettes! Glad to be here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's Getting Better All the Time.

Three things to celebrate!

1. One day of work until Spring Break. It promises to be a busy, crazy day, but it is only one.

2. Visiting my dear friend Alison (and her fantastic husband David) near Boston next week. The internal jukebox is playing "Think I'll go to Boston". (No I'm not singing it aloud.) Weather is supposed to clear, and I've been promised very little to no flooding.

3. You all received my fundraising emails, and I've received over $100 in the last 36 hours. Officially, I've raised 14% toward my goal of $1800. Thanks to all who are able to donate, and to those helping in other ways.

Today's walk was just around the neighborhood-a quick 3 miles in about 50 minutes. Hear that Patty? (I got a little grief on how slow the first few walks were. Good to know I'm improving.)

I'll need to keep 3 miles per hour pace on the day of the walk. Let's do the math real quick- 3 miles an hour at 26.2 miles is at least 8.7333-or 8 hours, 45ish minutes-of just walking.


Did I just sign up to spend more time walking then a typical work day? I may have to rethink the tent sleeping scenario. Even my ThermaRest might not be enough to recover in peaceful slumber.

Guess I'll have to find out!

Coming up on Saturday-the first walk over 5 miles (it's 6). Got a friend helping out on the route (right Char?). Otherwise, I found a great route through the park. Advantage: starts and ends at my house, so I can come home and nap.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lafayette Reservoir

Distance: 2.7 miles
Time: About 50 minutes

Who knew there was a reservoir hidden in Lafayette? Aside from all the people sharing the path. My walking partner today was my Dad. He did a great job-on the hills, he pushed on through and kept a strong pace. Ready for a 4 miler, Dad?

Coolest thing we saw: A flock of turkeys.

I know a female turkey is a hen. What is the correct title of the male turkey? There are peacocks and peahens. Reasoning just kicks in at that point.

The other thought in my head was how yummy a true free-range, all natural turkey would taste.

Particularly if I acquired it through the use of bow and arrow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mel Brooks=Easy 4 miles

Alright, my Mom better be reading this.

She was right.

Pause for gloating.

Here's why. After walking or engaging in some form of exercise every day for the past 10 days, which is 10 consecutive days longer then my previous record over the past few years, it's getting easier. For example: today I walked to a friend's house (about 2 miles away). It took less time then I planned (about 35 minutes) and I checked the milage twice.

Mel Brooks came in at Sean's house. We are having an unofficial Mel Brooks festival. First up was The Producers. If you hear me singing about Springtime in Germany, just keep walking.

Next goal: Get faster.

Tomorrow is a walk in the East Bay with the fabulous Edna.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It smells like spring!

Walking through the park today, the scent of flowers is in the air. This is my favorite time of the year-the time when flowers dominate the landscape. Heavy perfumes followed us across meadows and around corners. At one point the air tasted of grape soda.

Todays walk was the 3.3 mile loop that takes me past the bison. I'm taking Tuesday's walk a little early-tomorrow I have fun things to do. The next challenge are the cross-training days. Gotta find a workout activity lasting 20-30 minutes that isn't walking. Some ideas are swimming and riding my old bike. Tap dancing sounds great, but adding another class into my schedule isn't a good idea.

What about Jazzercise? It combines dancing and exercise and leotards!

I'm mostly kidding.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Walks 3 and 4

My friends are amazing. As soon as I put this challenge out on the world wide webs, friends started volunteering their services. One foodie friend is offering snacking and meal advice. A student at one of my school sites has offered to help with fundraising. His mom is a survivor. Four friends have already scheduled themselves for a walk. One even sacrificed her knee to the cause. Martyrdom suits her.

To those providing cheerleading support, thanks. You are officially charged with telling me to suck it up if I get burned out or "don't have enough time to train". (Yes, you can check on my honesty of walking distance and frequency.)

Walks 3 and 4 are a bit contradictory. Both involved walking on trails along the water (Land's End on Saturday and Bay Coastal Trail on Sunday) followed by a meal. I'm pretty sure the Land's End caloric burn was cancelled out by half a BBQ burger and beer at Park Chalet. The good news is that despite our best efforts, no new casualties. Ka Yun and I were joking that given my history of unfortunate accidents (see: first day of high school, college orientation, 4th grade ice skating) it's nice that my friends are willing to put their safety on the line. I promise I'm not a jinx.

The training schedule is taped to my wall. I think I'll have to adjust my walking days a bit. Tuesday and Thursday are 3-4 mile days. The kicker is I signed up for a sketch comedy acting class that starts in April and will take place on Thursdays. SO excited for the class-it's been almost 5 years since Your Logo Here (who remembers improv shows at the coffee shop?). The schedule involves progressively longer walks for the next 16 Saturdays. Suggestions for walks over 10 miles are appreciated. Same with music.

Oh, this just in! First donation has been made! Thanks to my first donor.

Mondays are "recovery" days- 15 to 30 minutes to keep the muscles limber. That's easy enough to fit in. Until the next, thanks for reading.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bigger challenges

Thanks for visiting my Avon Walk blog. I’ve committed to participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s a big commitment, one that will require me to spend the next several months training and fundraising. But breast cancer is a big disease, one that still affects far too many people, and I’m determined to do everything I can to help put an end to it. The money I raise will be managed and disbursed by the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade to help provide access to care for those that most need it, fund educational programs, and accelerate research into new treatments and potential cures. I’ll be just one of thousands of people that will walk up to a marathon and a half over a weekend, raising awareness of the cause and educating even more people.

I can’t do it without your help. Though I’m required to raise at least $1,800 in donation, I plan to raise much more!

I hope that I can count on your support.
You can make a donation to my fundraising campaign by clicking the link at the bottom of this post. On the website click on the pink "Donate Now" button. If you prefer to write a check, just contact me and I'll send you the information and form.

As I prepare for this exciting event, I plan to update this page frequently so that all my supporters can follow my progress, so please visit often. For more information about the Avon foundation and where the money goes, you can follow the bottom link to the Avon website.

Thank you in advance.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Walk 2

Distance: about 4 1/3 miles
Time: Sunset. Somewhere between one and two hours.
With: Sean and Charlotte

Notable moment: The first causality occurred on today's walk. We were looping around the back side of the Park Chalet (no stopping for beer this time). Charlotte, whose ankle has recently healed, stepped on a rock and fell forward. She caught herself with her hands. The ankle was twisted, but not injured. The other ankle also twisted, though walkable.

Her knee was a sight to behold. She landed on rock that appeared to dent the skin about an inch in length. As she recovered, and we began walking, the knee started to seep out blood. By the time we got back to the house, Charlotte was no longer bleeding. She is going to sport a nice bruise and has some swelling.

Thanks, Char, for taking one for the team. I was hoping the first injury wouldn't occur for a while, and assumed it would be me. Heal quickly.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First Walk Complete!

Per google: 2.6 miles
Time: 48 minutes

Interesting Sight: something that looked rather like an old-fashioned deep-sea diving helmet.

Great Moment: I'm walking down a mostly-empty commercial street, singing along with Billy Joel (I don't need you to worry for me/ Cause I'm alright/ Go ahead with your own life/ Leave me alone!). A man steps out of a restaurant to light a cigarette. I keep singing, make eye contact, and smile. The nice gentleman smiles back.

Personal Reminder: Start shuffle on a slow song when starting the walk up a hill. Flogging Molly sets a fast pace for SF hills.

Day 1

Hi friends. I've just committed to an event that is beyond anything I've ever done before. The Avon Breast Cancer Walk will take place July 10th and 11th of this summer. Day 1 is a full marathon-26.2 miles to complete. Day 2 is a mere 13.1 miles. For those non-math people (hello, fellow psychs!) that totals over 39 miles in two days.

Those that know me may be thinking, "Kristina, you are so active. I can't even get you on my calendar! How are you going to find the time/what did you get yourself in to?"

I asked myself the same questions. Particularly the latter.

Two answers keep reappearing.

1. The time will come and other commitments may take a temporary back seat. Part of this is a lesson to myself in prioritizing health.

2. I take on challenges all the time without a clearly defined ending point. This challenge has clear goals and is easy to measure progress.

Several survivors are included in my thoughts as I work toward the fundraising aspect of this event. I've lost two family members to the effects of lung cancer, and have seen the horrible deterioration that cancer ravages on the human body. As we age, more friends will find lumps, go through the agony of diagnosis, and (hopefully) pull through the treatment process. This is why I committed to fundraising.

The walk itself is more self-involved. It is time for me to evaluate my physical health and make changes that will keep me strong as I move through life. Increasing cardiovascular health and muscular fitness was my New Year's resolution. To date, my progress in that area has been minimal. I will be more successful with a clear goal and support from my friends and family.

The content of this blog (from here out) will primarily be tracking progress. Since I live in San Fran, you know there will be some interesting sights along the way. Got a suggestion for a place to walk? I'll take it. Feel like coming along sometime? Tell me when you are free. Think I'm nuts? Well, I'll give you that one.

Now I'm off for my first day of walking training. Current goal: 2.5 miles. A giant square: up 18th, down Noriega, down 26th, and Lincoln way to home.

Keep checking back and wish me luck!