I thought it would be a good idea to do a practice run of my first day of walking just to help give me an idea of what to expect and be better prepared for when I begin the real walk one week from today. Since I can’t start from the point my new starting point is probably going to be Jubilee Soup Kitchen right of 5th Avenue in Pittsburgh. I say probably only because the person in charge was on vacation last week and they couldn’t give me the official ok until she comes back Monday, but told me they can’t imagine it being a problem (I am also in the process of looking for a new end point after learning last week that I would need a permit to have an end of the walk gathering in Love Park, but that it was too late to apply for one).
So my dad drove me downtown this morning and dropped me off in front of Jubilee’s. I started walking at 7:15am. My plan was/is to really push it in the morning (without overdoing it) since it will be the coolest part of the day and I can use all the energy I get from sleeping the night before and breakfast before I begin to hit a wall. I was moving pretty good and was pleased with my progress. I had walked 8.2 miles in a little under 2.5 hours before stopping at Hebron Church in Penn Hills. I hadn’t even planned on stopping there but I still had some flyers about the walk in my backpack and seeing all the cars in the parking lot for services, I thought it be a good idea to stop and drop of some information. I did sit down for a couple minutes but only a couple because I didn’t want to get tight. I stopped at St. Bart’s Church too and gave the lady in the rectory my fyler. I wish I would have thought about speaking a churches earlier. I think people would have been pretty receptive to my mission.
I would have liked to have stopped at least one or two more churches but needed to return my attention back to walking. I was getting pretty tired and it started to rain but I kept going because even I had wanted to (which I did), there was no place for me to really stop and rest at. So I just kept going. It was until just before the 5 hour mark (~12:15) that I finally found a dry place I could stop (I stopped underneath the drive through overhand of a funeral home, it didn’t seem like anyone was around and I didn’t think they’d mind). By that time I had gone a little over 14 miles. I ate the PB&J and kiwi I packed and enjoyed taking a load off for a while.
After about 30 minutes I tool off again, into a pretty constant drizzle (it’s clear I’m going to need to get waterproof shoes). I saw some deer, two bucks, as I walked along a long windy road. When I got to the end of that road it was pretty much all highway walking the rest of the way along 22. 22 has a nice wide shoulder so it was pretty nice walking. I finally arrived in Murrysville a little before 2:15, ~7 hours after starting out at Jubliee, much sooner than I had anticipated. It was a little over 18 miles of walking. I think part of the reason I got there quicker than I expected was because I thought I would be resting more/longer than I did. I think I would have rested more had it not been so wet and rainy but still not as much as I initially thought I would. Obviously this will change after a couple days/weeks of walking day after day but nonetheless, I feel more confident now about be able to get from one town to the next fairly quickly.
I must admit my knees are a little sore. I iced them when I got home, but I think they held up pretty well. That’s my biggest concern, whether or not my knees will be able to take the constant pounding (I have week knees to begin with – I broke my left knee cap in 7th grade and have had 3 full leg casts). I’ll see how I feel tomorrow but my walk today has given me a lot of confidence as heading into my final week before the real deal.
T minus 1 week and counting.