The first thing that came to mind when coming up with the title for today’s blog post was Stephen King’s fascinating horror story “The Long Walk.” It is a book about a brutal walking competition that often ended in death…. Today was another group training session and the schedule called for a 6 mile walk. I forced myself to roll out of bed and made it to Forest Park by 7:02 AM. The thermostat on the rearview mirror in my car said that it was a bitter 19°. I was only 2 min. late, and I saw the team already ahead of me. But, I figured since I was there I would go ahead and give it all that I had. I started walking and turned on my iPod. About 3 seconds later it said “connect to power source”, I was devastated. It sat on the charger all night long! How in the world was I going to walk six miles in the freezing cold alone with no music for motivation?
After about 10 min. I realized that I had my BlackBerry phone and I’ve heard all the wonderful things about Pandora internet radio, but never actually tried it. I quickly downloaded the Pandora app to my phone and plugged in my Yurbuds Earphones. Ahhh….Music! But it was still so cold, I kept telling myself I’d warm up soon. I thought I was dressed appropriately, but apparently not. Even with two pairs of pants my legs froze the entire time. When I got to the water station that TNT set aside for us, it was pretty much frozen…. I walked and walked and walked. I felt like it was never going to be over. I wasn’t really tired or out of breath, just cold. I considered cheating and taking a shortcut many times. However, I stuck with it. For the first time I did the entire 6 mile loop around Forest Park. As I got close to the end of my last mile, I saw what looked like my coach headed in my direction. Was it a mirage or did coach Tina come back for me? She really DID come back for me, I was so excited! She complimented me on my pace as I wasn’t too far behind the group and she finished out the last half-mile or so with me. I was happy that I finally did the entire loop around the park, but I was so cold it was hard to enjoy it. My legs almost felt numb. I did however sit down to a nice omelet with fresh veggies from the Visitor’s center. At least the hardest part of my day was over.