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Rainy Days and Bone Spurs Always Get Me Down

Now I know why I always hated that Carpenters song. And all Carpenters songs. Because I haven’t done a Natchez Trace walk training update in a while…………..

I decided I didn’t want to know what walking 15 miles a day, six days a week would feel like until I had to do it. Long walks three days, usually in a row, mixed in with some yoga and shorter walks. That’s my training schedule.

My dislocated ankle is newer than new. No problems. No lingering pain or discomfort. At the advice of my chiropractor, I ice it after every walk. Real ice. Old-timey pack. Goes great with chugging a glass of wine. Ha.

My initial plan for wet days was to walk in my hiking boots. They’re watertight and designed for rugged terrain. So last weekend, I did fifteen miles in the rain………….and I limped off the Greenway, collapsed in Starbucks and almost couldn’t drag myself out of there. My foot swelled like a demon had taken up residence just under the skin.

Caused by a bone spur.

I’ve had the bone spur for a while, but I had no idea what the wrong pair of shoes could make it do. Like someone lit a flamethrower inside my foot. Or Alien took up residence and wanted out. Yesterday.

I spent even more money and got a pair of Salomon Fast Hikers. My sneakers are also Salomons. I love them, so I hoped the hiking shoes would be equally swell.

Yesterday morning dawned sodden. And cold. And windy. More frozen Winter in the forecast.

Perfect day for a fifteen-miler in my Fast Hikers.

fort sumter

Me at Charleston’s Battery. Fort Sumter is that little bump on the horizon.

A crane almost attacked me on the Battery. My face got so wet my contacts swam in my eyes. When I crossed the Cooper River Bridge, the wind sent me airborne several times.

I finished frozen and hungry. And happy. I had Very Happy Feet. No bone spur pain. No ankle relapse. One tiny new blister.

We never know what we can do until we try.

63 Comments Post a comment
  1. Never perfect songs to listen to while walking in the rain. 🙂
    Perhaps, you might try Singing in the rain for starters.

    February 12, 2014
    • I haven’t tried singing while I’m walking. That might look less cray-cray than talking to myself. 🙂

      February 12, 2014
  2. Is Natchez the Indian for insane?:)

    February 12, 2014
  3. I hope you like ABBA songs; they are good walking tunes. Mamma Mia!!

    February 12, 2014
  4. ouch, glad you solved the problem and tackle each one head on as they arise. i am currently traveling outside to ‘walking in a winter wonderland. ‘ seems like i’ve been walking to this song for way too long now –

    February 12, 2014
    • I hope you get a break soon. Winter has been fierce for so many folks this year. I wonder whether listening to the Beach Boys or some such could help alter the landscape in one’s mind?

      February 12, 2014
  5. Beautiful. When the feet are happy, everybody happy.

    February 12, 2014
    • My feet are happy I’m not making them go out there today. It’s flat-out ugly here, and the bridge is closed again at the merest threat of ice.

      February 12, 2014
  6. Lance #

    I’m always surprised as to what spurs a new post from you.

    seewhatididthere

    Glad you’re healing up.

    February 12, 2014
  7. Glad your new hiking boots are working out well, Andra. And I admire you for continuing to walk 15 miles at a crack, especially when the weather is bad. You inspire me!

    February 12, 2014
    • Once I’m wet, it really doesn’t matter what the weather’s like. I have torrent shell pants and jacket from Patagonia. They only thing exposed is my face. I’m still not sure what to do about that. In heavier rain, it could be really hard to see with a wet face.

      February 12, 2014
      • Would a baseball cap, with a long brim, under the hood help keep the rain off your face?

        February 12, 2014
      • That’s a great idea. I’d like to find a hat with a wrap-around brim for sunny days, but the cap under the hood would do the trick for wet ones.

        February 12, 2014
      • tarakianwarrior #

        Andra – I purchased a wrap around bill for my trip to Ireland so they do have them out there…Need me to send it to you????

        February 13, 2014
  8. So you know my schtick about shoes. I have had to modify it. Caroline has, against my direct orders, grown feet that are already as big as mine. At age ten. I wear a 7 1/2. She has been stealing my shoes right and left because she can never find her own. Kaylee and a cousin on Scott’s side both gave Caroline some boots over the Christmas break. They have a low, squareish, heel. Yesterday, to be obnoxious, and because both Scott and Caroline were home sick with strep throat (marking the first time EVER in nearly fifteen years of teaching that Scott has missed teaching for his own health) I grabbed the boots and announced, “If you can do it to me, I can do it to you.” and pranced out the door in Caroline’s boots. OMG. I am NOT a shoe person. Shoes are annoying necessities. And my feet are w-i-d-e so most shoes cut off my pinky toe’s circulation. But these things were SO comfortable, my pinky toe was mostly OK in there, and the low heel actually provided some badly needed arch support. Also, they were kicky and cute, and they zipped up the side. I decided halfway through the afternoon when I’d gotten stuck at the ballet (and therefore in the shoes, which I’d planned to wear for two hours max) that Caroline could pry them from my cold dead feet as they curled up like the Wicked Witch of the East’s did under Dorothy Gale’s house.

    February 12, 2014
    • I love that you’re stealing her shoes now. Was she really mad when you got home?

      February 12, 2014
  9. I think that many people would have given up a long time ago. Your drive and determination are inspiring. Sorry to hear about all of the set backs. I am proud of you for being tenacious and not giving up.

    February 12, 2014
    • The setbacks just help for the real thing. I wouldn’t want to be dealing with any of these issues in the back end of nowhere.

      February 12, 2014
  10. This is too damn funny. Not the bone spur part, of course, but your telling of the story. Hope you write your own version of “Wild”–though maybe that’s what you plan already.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    February 12, 2014
    • I doubt my version of this could equal Wild, but I hope to come up with something publishable.

      February 12, 2014
  11. I’m enjoying these posts so much for what I am learning about good walking/hiking shoes 🙂 No, really, it’s awesome that you found a pair of shoes that made walking in bad weather a happy experience, or at least pain-free. You are an inspiration!

    February 12, 2014
    • I’m glad these solved the problem. I leave two weeks from today, so I’m running out of time to try other alternatives.

      February 12, 2014
  12. Yay! As a fair-weather walker, I applaud your fortitude.

    February 12, 2014
    • I like how the world looks in that weather. Everything sounds different, has an otherworldly patina. Having said that, I hope I don’t get many sodden days on my walk. Average temps in MS in March are highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s, with one of the lightest months for rainfall. Given our crazy weather this year, I doubt I can count on that, but I’m going to be hopeful. 🙂

      February 12, 2014
  13. I love walking in crappy weather. As long as my core stays warm and my feet stay dry I could walk at least six or seven hundred…yards.

    February 12, 2014
    • I’ve trained the whole time with a lot of wind, but I hope I don’t have a lot of wind there. I can only get a hill here by walking a bridge, and it’s so windy up there every time.

      February 12, 2014
  14. The Carpenters make me ill. My sister used to listen to them over, and over, and over, and over again. I developed some pretty bizarre fantasies about them – that are better left unsaid.

    Glad your foot and ankle are doing better. That kind of stuff sucks. You are going to be a serious expert on footgear and training by the time you are done.

    Your next book is going to have to be a how-to for wanna-be hikers. “A Hiking Your Dreams: A Guide for The Mobile Author”. Cool.

    Keep up the good work.

    February 12, 2014
    • Rowe (my awesome publicist) called me an experiential author the other day. I like that moniker.

      February 12, 2014
  15. Damn woman! The fact that you are braving the damp polarish vortex for hours to get your training in is very impressive. Once the hood goes up, things are serious.

    Also, the right shoes make all the difference, don’t they? I’ve been wearing the same brand/style of running shoes for the past 8 years, and I will cry heaving tears of despair if they are ever discontinued. Eulogies will be read. Gods will be damned.

    February 12, 2014
    • Isn’t it funny how a pair of shoes changes everything? I had a pair of ankle boots that were my go-to travel pair. I could traverse whole cities in them. When they wore out, I tried to get another pair. Discontinued. When I find a pair of shoes like that now, I buy several pairs for that very reason.

      February 12, 2014
  16. tarakianwarrior #

    Love the Carpenters…guess it’s cause I used to sing in choir and always like their songs better than the other…well…dryer songs. 🙂

    Proud of you Andra. You are an inspiration in so many areas…so many diverse areas.

    February 12, 2014
  17. It’s time I find some of that determination myself. You’re never too old to try…

    February 12, 2014
    • Claudia, if you’d told me five years ago that I would be doing this, I would’ve laughed you right out of the room……..

      February 12, 2014
  18. When I started reading this post I gasped in fear that you weren’t going to be able to do your Natchez walk. Glad to know that I was wrong. Keep on, keeping on, Andra. You are an inspiration to a sedentary person such as myself.

    February 12, 2014
    • Ally, I’ve had several scares, but all is a big, fat GO! 🙂

      February 12, 2014
  19. As soon as it no longer resembles the Hoth scene from The Empire Strikes Back (my Tauntaun did indeed freeze to death, and definitely smells worse on the inside) I’m going to take your lead and get walking again. I miss it.
    As for the Carpenters — they and John Denver were my mother’s favourites, and I absolutely LOATHE them today… except just this once: from Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask:

    February 12, 2014
    • They are loathe-able. 🙂

      February 12, 2014
    • I had forgotten about that MirrorMask scene! Of course there are not that many of us who have seen it.

      February 12, 2014
  20. When I did long walk training in advance of the annual 60km cancer events, I found that the loneliness was the worst part. That you are doing these long training walks in horrible weather is a huge testament to your fortitude. It makes good sense though. On 3 of the 5 weekend cancer walks I did it rained buckets, for all 8 hours of each of the two days. You are well prepared, and you will kill this Natchez Trace walk Andra.

    February 12, 2014
    • What I haven’t had is some serious hot weather to train in. It’s not unthinkable that I could get 90s and humidity in Mississippi in March…………..I’m used to that, but it requires so much more water on the back.

      February 12, 2014
      • Water plus Gatorade. You should alternate one bottle of water with one bottle of the G to keep your electrolytes in balance — especially when you’re sweating.

        February 12, 2014
  21. I am a firm believer in the power of good shoes. My time in the Marines and then time working on your feet for 8 or more hours a day, good shoes make all the difference.

    February 12, 2014
    • I’m glad to know the Marines supply good shoes, and to get such advice from one. 🙂

      February 12, 2014
      • Combat boots are not good shoes. This is part of the learning process of good insoles and such to ensure your feet are well taken care of.

        February 12, 2014
  22. Ah, good. I was thinking we’d have to have the memorial at a glue factory with this tune playing:

    Pack some good insoles for that trip. or at least have your stunt double work on carrying you for a few hours. That still counts as a day’s walk as I’d bet those pioneers didn’t have happy feet at the end of each day either…

    February 12, 2014
    • I need to look up insoles for this. You’re right. And some pads for the bone spur, in case it flares up.

      February 12, 2014
  23. Maybe there should be a slight revision in the hike? Maybe do the Natchez Trace in a Hoveround? 😉

    I’m just pulling your leg, Andra, certainly not your foot. I’m about five or so years away from a spur. It’s in the family, and I’m holding no illusions. I also have flat feet, which makes me get the whole flamethrower in the shoe bit. Really, really painful.

    February 12, 2014
    • I wish I could do the Hoveround walk. I don’t think that would count for much, though. 🙂

      February 12, 2014
  24. I am so proud of you for doing this. I know I would wimp out the first day. You go girl

    February 12, 2014
  25. Good to hear you back to walking on happy feet, Andra. Hope that little blister behaves – and the rain stops. Sigh. This polar vortex, or whatever it is now being called, has certainly wreaked havoc over a very wide expanse.

    February 12, 2014
    • The blisters are all turning to callouses. It’s all good. 🙂

      As for the weather, I never worried about having to walk in the cold in MS in March. With a little over two weeks to go, I’m starting to.

      May we all get a break very soon.

      February 12, 2014
  26. Happy Feet make for a Happy Gal. Glad nothing is stopping you from your goal. 🙂

    February 12, 2014
  27. Thinking of you everyday. It’s almost impossible for me to stand for longer that 4 or 5 hours because of the damage to my feet but they are healing, I know they are. Sometimes I look out the window at someone walking past -or jogging- and think to myself ‘I know a girl who’s going to walk hundreds of miles…and someday I will too!’ Someday I’ll be the one walking past someone’s window, and they’ll look out and think, ‘Look at that girl walking along…’. that’ll be me, Andra. Happy that you found the proper shoes, too!

    February 12, 2014
  28. Yikes! A bone spur is no fun. I had one in a heel several years ago and it was a problem for a while. I would walk to a full-Disco playlist. A little Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” might be just about right!

    February 13, 2014
  29. Singing while walking is fun. I do it on the beach. The seagulls think I’m bonkers, but who cares.

    February 13, 2014
  30. The Carpenters’ songs are always such ear worms. My goodness!!! That stays with you!
    Sorry about your foot. Glad you got some new shoes. I’d love a pair like that!

    February 13, 2014
  31. So the Salomon hikers did the trick then? I’ve heard good things about that brand.

    February 13, 2014
  32. vastlycurious.com #

    I am with you every step of the way. I respect what you are doing greatly. I appreciate the tip about the Salomon’s too. I have a bunion that is causing me great pain especially hiking and I am on my 3rd pair of boots. I have taken to using mole skin on the places that generally blister and it works.

    Please take care of yourself and know that we are all rooting for you !!

    February 15, 2014

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