Since I’m planning on a 13-mile hike next month, and I’ve never hiked that far before, I decided today to go for a long walk to see just what 13 miles feels like. I never got a chance to find out because after 8.6 miles I was beat. I started at my house and worked my way to the east end of 800 North, and from there I’d planned on walking along a dirt road until the odometer on my GPS read 6.5 miles, then I was going to turn around and head back home. By the time I got to 5.5 miles, I knew that I couldn’t make it the whole way. I turned around and started for home, but after another 3 miles, my legs were ready to give out, so I called Traci to come rescue me in the car. Below is a screenshot of my GPS with the trip data. By the way, I grabbed that using Garmin’s xImage, a pretty nifty little app that does some cool stuff if you’ve got a Garmin GPS.

GPS Screenshot 02-03-2007

I’m sure my problem was that I didn’t stop to rest. I was walking for a little over three hours, and I kept a pretty brisk pace for the first two hours. Since I was walking on mostly level ground, I never got the blood pumping and never ran out of breath, so I didn’t have any reason to stop and rest until my leg muscles started hurting near the end. I also should have been wearing my hiking boots, but I left the house wearing tennis shoes and by the time I realized that I’d forgotten to change shoes, I was too far away from home to bother going back. I ended up with a blister on my foot, and up until now I’ve never gotten a blister from hiking.
Tomorrow, if my legs aren’t too stiff and sore, I’m going to take the kids for a walk of about two miles or so. Next weekend I’m going to try for 13 miles again, this time taking regular rest stops whether I need them or not.

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