The Great Saunter took place this past Saturday. It is a loosely organized walk mostly around the perimeter of Manhattan. The total walk length, depending on the source, is 30 or 32 miles. For the past three years, Husband and I have wanted to participate in the event. We love walking, and we love Manhattan, so ambling about seemed like a perfect way to spend a day. We were out of town or otherwise occupied for the previous two walks, but we signed up and showed up this year.

The walk officially began at South Street Seaport at 7:30 am, but some people with shpiles began walking around 7:20. Husband and I followed a group at 7:26. I turned my GPS watch on about ten minutes later. That is also when I ate my first snack of many.

It was a day of sunshine and carbohydrates, beautiful parks and crappy pavement, blisters and knee pain. Husband sat down a little before the tenth mile and changed his socks for the first time. The pair he wore were stuck to many blisters. At the eleventh mile, we ate Gu and commented on how much it tasted like frosting. By mile twelve, Husband had a barely noticeable limp. I began to worry about him. My feet hurt a little, but mostly I just wanted more Gatorade than I packed.

The halfway point (over 15 miles) was the flagpole at Inwood Hill Park, and we rested for a while. By this point, I had consumed two small bags of PopChips, a granola bar, a Clif bar, a packet of Gu, and 45 ounces of Gatorade. Husband had a granola bar and water. At the rest stop, I ate some cheddar crackers. I think Husband ate a Luna Bar.

The point is, he was physically falling apart and I was stuffing my face. I encouraged him to take the subway home, but he wanted to soldier on. He was determined to finish the walk, although he could barely walk five minutes without needing to rest. He said he would feel like a failure if he quit at that point.

Five miles later (during which we passed the most gorgeous park I have ever seen in NYC - Swindler Cove Garden along Harlem River Drive), we came to a subway station and I practically forced him to go home. He had walked about twenty miles, at least half of which he was in pain. I told him the only failure he faced at this point was seriously hurting himself for no good reason. He agreed, got on the subway, and I stopped at a convenience store for another 32 ounces of Gatorade.

I sauntered alone for another three or so miles. When I hit 93rd Street, I felt a sharp pain in the sole of my right foot. Blister! I thought about the half marathon I am training for, how a blister would fuck up my runs, and I exited the walk at 87th Street. I'd done a little less than 24.5 miles at that point and was quite proud of myself.

Here's the part that makes no sense: instead of taking a cab home, I took the bus. That would have been mostly fine, except that I ran for the bus when I saw it pull up to the stop. Then when I got off the bus, I walked another 1/2 mile home. At this point, I developed a nasty callus blister on my right foot. If I had just called it quits for real, I would have been mostly unharmed.

Instead, like Husband, I pushed myself too hard and am hobbling around. Lessons: Quit while you're ahead; there's can be way too much of a good thing; pride goeth before a fall; etc.

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