The soreness has yet to subside from my 22-mile walk yesterday. Like the pain, I know memories are quick to fade. Before I’m “back to normal” I wanted to reflect on the lessons learned.
1. 22 Miles is a Long Way
A journalist asked me how I trained. I told them I’d been walking my whole life. They didn’t laugh. I didn’t train. It was hard. How people run marathons (much less those weird ultra-marathon people), I have no idea. My route took me 8 hours. It was over 45,000 steps.
Yes, I’m sore.
2. Sometimes It Rains
I was walking in Houston, Texas in June. I was expecting 95 degrees and sunny, but as the day drew near the forecast was promising — upper 80s, maybe 90, with a “chance” of rain. As it turned out, the chance of rain became 100% almost the instant I started walking. It basically rained the whole time. I did not need the sunscreen I packed. By two miles in I was drenched, with little chance of drying out.
I think I’m dry now.
3. You Can Do Hard Stuff
I’m 39. I work out a little, but not a lot. I don’t eat terribly. I’m in relatively good health. Still, even in my cross country days, 14 miles was the furthest I’d ever trekked. I wasn’t sure I could even finish the walk.
Turns out, it’s just walking. A lot of it, yes. But just walking.
4. Houston is Great
I walked from Katy, Texas to Stafford, Texas, skirting the southwestern edge of Houston’s city limits along the way. I walked through neighborhoods, a beautiful park, along commercial streets, and underneath highways. I saw a little bit of everything:
- A dead fox on the side of the road
- A hawk carrying off another bird from a branch in its talons
- A monster truck
- A near traffic accident and ensuing argument, when the lead car stopped to yield to us and the trailing car didn’t slow down and almost crashed into the first vehicle (this did not include the aforementioned monster truck)
I saw signs in at least a half-dozen languages, walking through predominately black, white, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Hispanic neighborhoods, and plenty of parts of town aren’t “predominately” anything. Houston is a gorgeous melting pot of humanity. I love it.
5. People Are Generous
I was walking to raise money for The 25 Group. The organization I founded in 2014 is partnering with Attack Poverty. The money raised will provide clean water for people in East Asia, where for five months out of the year they have no great options because of frozen pipes. All year long, they’re walking up a mountain to get to a fresh source. It’s an easy problem to fix.
So while I was walking, I was also shooting Facebook Live videos and inviting people to give. Though we started the day with some money, we ended it with nearly $10,000, nearly half of what was needed. It’s not too late to chip in, by the way. We’re raising money for this cause through the end of July. You can give on our website or via Venmo (@the25group).
It was cool to watch people jump on and donate. And it’s certainly a worthy cause.
(I took two of these pictures yesterday and a third picture is of the villagers’ water source. The reason I walked is that it’s a really sad thing to me that we can’t really tell the difference between our puddles and their source of drinking water.
We can fix the problem.
Thanks for considering giving.
6. This Sort of Thing is Addictive
Last night, while popping ibuprofen with my feet up, I found myself googling “Great 10 Mile Hikes in Houston.” Why? Because in spite of the difficulties of yesterday’s walk, it was also fun.
I’m not going to go do another 20 tomorrow, but I will do some longer walks again. For sure.
7. Dried Bananas and Peanut Butter are a Yummy Combination
Not much to add. It’s tasty.
8. Hikers Don’t Wear Fanny Packs
They call them “Waist Packs.”
(I still put it on my fanny.)
9. Trekking Poles Are Cool
I mean, seriously. Look at those interlocking segments and the variety of grip tips!
10. Walking in the Woods in the Rain is Super Fun
I looked at this view for about two and a half hours. It was incredible.
Soggy, but incredible.