When you make emotional decisions, they generally are flawed and this one was no different. I was heading to town after my lifetime friend and her husband left after spending some time with us. It was nothing short of a great time and like always we reconnected as though we had been together last week rather than two years ago. I was sad to see them go as I know that we won’t see one another for at least a year. Though I was heading to town I wasn’t ready for people and so impulsively decided to head to a forest trail I had always wanted to try.
I parked my rig a the trail head, pulled out a photo copy map from the kiosk and headed out. I enjoyed the sounds of nature and got myself grounded again. I was about three miles out when I had an ah ha moment. I had taken this hike without thinking first and I was now the realization was hitting me what I had done.
- I had thrown out my drink glass in a bear proof container and I had not thought about bear spray, something I usually walk with.
- l found a great rock formation in the sun to photograph. It seemed like a great spot to sit and soak in the sun. Then I realized that rattlesnakes were not unheard of in this area and for the first time I was not hiking in boots, but rather I was where was wearing my sandels!
- I had taken off with out water at noon at August. Fortunately I had done enough training that this did not put me under, and I was not in the full sun. The distance and the temperature dictated I had water with me.
- I had originally taken a rails to trails, but when I went back I took a forest trail. The grade there turned out to be pretty intense. I would have sold my soul for my hiking poles. They really help take so much of the stress off of your knees when are faced with steep climbs.
- I had gone out into the woods and not told a single person where I had gone. No one had a time that I was due back. If you do nothing else when you head out into the woods that is the most critical thing you need to do. It is your safety net.
Dumb luck was with me and it all worked out. It was a reminder that emotional decisions can be full of flaws due to the impulsive nature. It would have only take an few minutes to call home and leave message where I was going and when I should be home. I keep all the other supplies I should have taken in a crate in my rig at all times. There were all there for me. I should have taken them them with me. There are no walks or hikes that are too short to take your safety supplies. This all worked out fine, and it serve as a great reminder of what I already know. THINK. It could be live saving.
As I train for this year’s races I am forced to deal with the idea that my shoes are on the downward side of being serviceable for another year of races and distance walking. Shoes if you wear them to walk around for a day of shopping only wear out when they burst at the seams and fall apart. If you use your shoes for fitness then there is a definite time when they no longer provide the kind of support and protection you need from your shoes. It all depends on what you do for fitness, the time you spend the the shoes, your feet and yes even your body (how you stand, your gait, and even your weight).
There are lots of guidelines when to replace your shoes, but if you use them for serious running or walking you know when they start to loose their effectiveness and it is time to replacement. That is the easy part. The hard part is fining a new pair of shoes. In the runner’s world the running shoe is constantly evolving and their are hundreds if not thousands of models out there. I can’t imagine how you pick a new shoe if your model has been discontinued.
If you are a serious distance walker it is much harder as there are not many shoes made specifically for walking. Walking is significantly different body motion than running and the shoes are just as different. Putting on running shoes and walking a half marathon doesn’t really work. I have had many sports fitness stores convince me otherwise and I have sent many perfectly good running shoes to Goodwill after blisters and other foot problems training wearing those shoes. I have learned my lesson and restrict my purchases now to shoes designed for just distance/fitness walking. So I am back to my favorite maker of walking shoes and weighing out current model one looks best to plunk my hard-earned cash down on. It is time to start breaking in a new pair of walking shoes. My feet are telling me to retire my current pair.
My treadmill’s feedback brain died. It is absolutely the worst possible timing. It will be another few months before those new year’s resolutions treadmills start hitting the classified ads or Craig’s list. In the meantime the days I can’t drag myself out for a walk in the cold I will be walking on the treadmill, never quite sure how far I walked. It isn’t a real big deal since I know my pace after all these years of walking. But as anyone who has ever done treadmill, will verify, there isn’t much more boring that a treadmill. I use that little feedback on the dash to help keep me moving forward. This hiccup isn’t going to stop me, but I am going to be looking for that “steal of deal” on a treadmill with a working brain.