The first 10 miles went pretty well. Rests were welcome, and occasionally the spray painted mile markers were a little farther apart than seemed right as a walker, but I was fully enjoying it. At mile 10 we took a pleasant break for snacks and restrooms, as we still had three more miles until lunch. Those three miles went well, except for the horrid hill right before the house where we stopped. I had feelings of anger towards that hill.
At lunch I considered (and pushed aside) thoughts of calling it quits. The bridge of my left foot was hurting. The best way to describe it was that it felt like I did not have enough cartilage to cushion the joint between two of my bones. I reasoned within myself that I was not likely to do any permanent damage, so I may as well walk on it.
The next 7 miles to the finish line are a pretty good testimony to my pride and stubbornness. I wanted bragging rights after this, and 13 miles (or 16... or 17... etc) just wouldn't have cut it. It needed to be the full 20 miles (and a little bit more, but not quite certain if it was a full 1/2 mile farther than 20).
I learned a few things on this trip, though some of them I "knew", just not from personal experience:
- 20 miles is a long way
- The left side of my body is weaker than my right side
- I can still get a sunburn on my face even if I have sunscreen on and am wearing a ball cap
- It is still possible to run/jog after walking 20 miles, and in a weird sense, it even feels good
- Bobby pins are indeed how females mark their territory, as I found some in my backpack from college (that had gone in to storage a while ago, and that I had "thoroughly" emptied out)
- Hocker Gas closes sometime before 9 p.m. Or else they don't even open on Memorial Day. That hadn't even occurred to me until now.
At dinner and afterwards, I was in enough pain that I decided to leave a bit early. Considering the fact that two people offered me painkillers (one because I was limping, the other was because I was swaying back and forth in my chair as I was sitting), that was probably a decision that everyone else could understand. I was pleasantly surprised that my soreness did not keep me awake at all that night.
Yesterday, my muscles were still rather mad at me, every time I moved they responded something like this: "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? YOU DESERVE ALL OF THIS! I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU IN A NORMAL VOICE AGAIN!"
Today has been a bit more reasonable. It has gone down to the level of, "Hey, you had a lot of exercise on Monday. I just wanted to remind you that maybe you should STAY IN SHAPE! Have a nice day."
I'm eagerly looking forward to next year's hike...