This is a long post from a long walk, but I promise it won’t take you as long to read it as it did for me to walk it! Find a quiet moment to savor the story of my journey. I hope it helps you feel like you were there.
Last night, my friend Barbara helped me carbo-load with a giant bowl of pasta, chicken apple sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, onions, garlic, fresh peas and olive oil. Oh yes, and garlic bread. Now she’s gotten up in the pre-dawn to take me to the drop-off point in Daly City. We leave her Glen Park neighborhood at 6:00 AM. It’s still dark and I’ve been up since 4:30. My belly is full of chai. In the car, I eat a bowl of oatmeal cooked with banana, cinnamon, and almond butter, my favorite long-distance training breakfast.
My phone is charged–I’m planning to take pictures along the way and won’t have access to electric outlets for three days. My gear has been carefully packed in a rolling golf duffle borrowed from my mother, my clothes neatly rolled in 2.5 gallon Ziploc bags, marked Day 2, Day 3, sleepwear, warmies. I’ve got my four pill boxes full of medications and supplements, plus a stash of Advil, Valium and Ativan. I’ve already taken two Advil; when walking twenty miles, I believe in prophylactic medicine. My fanny pack is loaded with my usual supplies as well as a small spiral notebook and pen so I can record my journey.
I slathered my feet with a thick, gooey layer of Vaseline before I slid on my white, wicking socks and laced up my well-seasoned sneakers. I was told by one of my Tuesday morning walking buddies, the Butt Busters, that gobbing on Vaseline is a surefire way to avoid blisters. It was gross (how do you get all that Vaseline off your hands?) but Marilyn has done this walk many times so I meticulously followed her instructions.
Spraying exposed skin with SPF 50 sunscreen wearing a tank top and shorts is a very unpleasant experience at 5:30 AM. Don’t try it unless you have to.
My hair is half-an-inch long and I will be called "Sir" a number of times over the next three days. I cut it yesterday in honor of the event and in memory of my own chemo and the chemo of millions of my fellow cancer patients.
I think I’m ready.