While those who follow this blog might not know, I posted the following a few weeks back on my Facebook page.It’s over. Despite my highest hopes and commitment to multiple treatments, I am still plagued by plantar fasciitis. I reached the Ohio/Indiana border yesterday, and am now 800 miles from the starting point, but I cannot go on. After my last blog post I started building up to a steady pace of 15 miles a day. To finish this walk before winter hits the western mountains, that’s the rate I must sustain. I learned, over the last several weeks, that walking 5-10 miles per day is quite tolerable. But last week, I walked nearly 100 miles, and now the pain is back. Apparently, optimism is not a cure for plantar fasciitis. And my threshold for pain is lower than can be accommodated by the schedule for this walk.
The frustrating thing for me is that I logged more than enough miles to walk across the US during my training period. My Fitbit notified me with great fanfare that I’d passed the 4132 mile mark last week (significant, as that is the length of the Nile, the longest river in the world … do Egyptians get plantar fasciitis?). Of course, that distance was covered over 2.5 years. Doing the math, that comes out to about 4.5 miles per day. Last May I did 31 miles in one day during training. Then I rested for several days. So the message is clear. I could do this walk over a period of several years, if I was willing to limit the daily distance to about 10 miles. But today, with some 2300 miles to go, that’s simply not an option.
What now? We’re not sure. This setback, along with all that is happening in the world right now, makes for a bad environment for strategic decision-making. On the other hand, Alanna and I are unbound by major obligations or commitments. So, for now, it’s one day at a time. We might hit some National Parks that we’ve always wanted to visit, take a few day hikes, and wander across the US over the next several months.
It’s now about 3 weeks later, and while the plantar fasciitis is still there, Alanna and I have done some amazing things. Since leaving Indiana we’ve:
– Traveled most of old Route 66, from outside Illinois into New Mexico
– Visited the National Weather Center (and some old friends) in Oklahoma, where only hours later we were hit with golfball-sized hail and just missed a tornado
– Walked through the battlefield at Wilson’s Creek (MO), where the first Northern General was killed in the Civil War
– Quickly drove through, and left, Branson (MO)
– Climbed the tallest mound at Cahokia, in Illinois, where ancient pre-Columbian tribes lived in the largest settlement in North America
– Toured the UFO Museum in Roswell (NM)
– Toured Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield (IL)
– Ate at the world-famous Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo (TX)
– Visited the courthouse where Billy the Kid was tried, in Mesilla (NM)
– Hiked through several miles of pure white dunes at White Sands National Monument (NM)
– Toured the King’s Palace, the Queen’s Room, and the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)
– Hiked up a dry creek bed to Devil’s Hall in Guadalupe Mountains National Park (TX)
– Hiked through the Gila Wilderness (NM) and orienteered our way to a cave dwelling from the late 1200s
– Visited Saguaro National Park (AZ)
– Ridden mules down the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
As the old saying goes, “When you’re handed lemons, make lemonade”. So, lemonade it is. We’ve had lots of fun touring the Southwest, and plan on staying on the road for several more weeks. However, I’m not sure what to do with this blog, as it was designed to follow my walk. I’ll think about that for a while, but in the meantime, if readers have thoughts about the future of this blog, I’d welcome your comments.