WE DID IT!!!
Candy and I finished Around the Bay 30K Walk in a literally blistering pace (as you can see by the pic of my feet) of 4:56:23 for myself and 4:56:22 for Candy (who beat her time of just over 5 hours last year).
We had a great time. The weather, as predicted by our local weatherman, was perfect for walking - slightly overcast and cool with not a drop of rain til about the last 5K and then it was just a sprinkling; not even enough to warrant putting on my rain jacket.
The volunteer support was fantastic! They offered water, gatorade and cheers of encouragement. And as the day got duller and greyer my appreciation grew for those stalwarts who hung in there: the cops who co-ordinated traffic; the 2 guys and their lop-earred dog beside their sign appealing to the Gods to keep the rain away; the people who stood on the sidewalks with banners, signs and noisemakers clapping for all of us while waiting for loved ones to come by and those who'd already completed the course but who came back along the route to urge the rest of us on.
Inspirational signs were posted at each kilometre to boost our resolve:
K1 - The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things people say you can not do.
K2-Act as if it were impossible to fail and it will be.
K4 - There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.
K7 - Everything you ever wanted to learn about yourself you can learn in 30K - which, judging by the comments as we passed, was a particular favourite of the crowd.
K21- Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.
K22 - You can if you think you can - a hypnotist's motto if ever there was one.
I could hear Dad's voice as we passed the 24K marker which bore one of his favourite "pearls of wisdom" - Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
And I love the pic of the lift bridge. I don't know if this is true, but I understand this whole event started as a celebration of the opening of the lift bridge, after the winter thaw, to the sea-going traffic. At any rate, participation in the walk was my own personal celebration of the coming of spring and in this spirit, I'll do it again next year.
Thankfully of the 5 blisters I generated during the walk only the one on my left baby toe broke and that was just 5 minutes from the finish line.
As I was stretching, while waiting outside the washroom (which was just outside of the first aid station) in Copp's Coluseum, a young first aid guy bearing adhesive tape, gauze and scirrors, asked if I was O.K. I said yes, except for the blister on my toe. He offered to tend to it and I couldn't refuse as he was so young, sweet and enthusiastic. As eagerly swaddled it in a wad of gauze and taped it to it's neighbour, he smiled and gave it a reassuring squeeze (Yeouch!). "This will protect your toe, keep it from ozzing, getting all pussey and rubbing against your shoe."
So, today my feet are getting a break. Why so many blisters and why are my feet aching so much? Dr. Steve (who gave me a big shout out as he ran passed me at the 12K mark) asked if I was going to walk-run the course. I said no, but found myself doing just that as I stopped to take pictures or take a pee (3 times) and then ran to keep up with Candy.
And, except for when I'm out in public, I haven't worn shoes for 10 years at least. I can't remember the last time when I had to wear shoes for work. I am barefoot all of the time.
Candy suggested I do next year's walk barefoot :) Maybe not.
But, when I celebrate the coming of the spring by participating in next year's walk, I will definitely be wearing new shoes for sure!