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Walk for the Heroes report

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm late getting to this, but a week ago yesterday, and the night before, I took part in the Walk for the Heroes I had blogged about before the event. It was a 37 miles walk, from one community to another, and it started at 11 pm. So we walked through the night and into the day. We were encouraged to walk as far or as little as we could. No pressure to have to finish the whole 37 miles and no Did Not Finish status no matter when you dropped out, or if you finished it all. There were about 40 of us that started at the small community of Hurley. The road we walked is one of the main roads in and out of our area. But late at night we weren't bothered by too much traffic. We had cars driving up and down between walkers (everyone got spread out after it started) and checking us. Some cars just followed us. I ended up walking by myself, but close to other walkers I didn't know. Part of the time I listened to music on my phone, and part of the time just to the silence of the night. At one time I heard the mooing of cows, as there is some ranch land along the way. Once I heard a coyote, and when talking to others later they did too. But it didn't bother me and was off in the distance. I had a little light with me. I have a hiker pack that straps around my waist like a big fanny pack, that also has a water bottle holder on each side of the pack part. In one bottle I had water and in the other I had powerade zero. I alternated what I drank. The light I had is a little headlight on an elastic strap but it worked better to wrap it around the water bottle and aim it at the road right in front of me. Worked very well. We also attached glow sticks (like the kid use for Halloween) to backpacks or wastes or some had the kind that were necklaces to make us more visible, and wore reflective vests. We had a portapottie following us on a little trailer as there is only one rest stop along the road. And some of the vehicles were loaded with bottles of water, nutrition bars, some fruit, etc. And one of the Gold Star moms involved (Gold Star families are those that have lost a son or daughter in combat) couldn't walk but she made a lot of burritos, some nut bread, and some homemade bread for us to eat and she drove up and down also helping walkers who needed a ride or giving a ride back to the start if they were done and wanted to go back to where our cars were parked. She was an awesome part of the event, as much as the walkers. Her and other support volunteers. Never can say enough about the volunteers at any race or event because they are so awesome and without them we couldn't do what we do.

Here is a group picture just before we started walking. I am the second person the second row on the left side.

And here is a picture of my hero for the night. Her name is Mary Ann Madrid, and she became a paraplegic after a motorcycle accident. She is awesome. She does wheelchair body building and other things. She did the whole 37 miles pushing herself along using her hands, arms, and you could see your whole upper body involved! Took a lot of muscle power to do that! You are awesome Mary Ann!

All of the walkers were heroes for getting out and doing whatever they could to honor heroes of 9/11 and after actually.

I did 10 miles, then caught a ride for a couple of miles. We were following walkers so a couple of miles was about 30 to 40 minutes of riding. Then I got out and did another 7 miles, which bought me to the rest area between our starting point in Hurley, NM and our ending point in Deming. That was roughly halfway. The support crew made fresh peanut butter and jelly sandwiches there for anyone that wanted one for energy.

At that point I rode again for a hour or an hour and half. Then I got out and walked a few more miles, but my lower back was hurting and so were my feet. Altogether I did close to 20 miles, which I was very happy with. I haven't walked a really long distance since March when I did the 15 mile Bataan Death March Memorial event. 20 miles is the most I've walked. I hadn't trained because I found out about this about a month before the event. But I intend to train for next year! They are talking about changing the route, and maybe going a shorter distance, although it would be more hilly. This road is one of the flat ones around here and a very slow downhill (you almost can't tell it except Deming is a lower elevation). It had a few little "bumps" of uphill but I only got 3 floors on my fitbit so not much. But there are some who would like to do it if the course was shorter. Also, this road was in 2 counties, and after we crossed the county line after the rest area we couldn't get any support from their sheriff's dept, although it had been discussed with them ahead of time. In our county we did have support. The main thing they could have used support for was Mary Ann and her wheelchair. Traffic picked up a lot during the day. But next year's route is still to be determined. It was nice not walking up and down hills like every other area around where I live LOL. I did like walking at night. There is something so peaceful, and support was all around from our vehicles and other walkers ahead or behind me, so I wasn't afraid. I walk and hike alone all the time, so I enjoyed my quiet time between groups, knowing I wasn't alone but still being able to be alone. That's just the way I am. I didn't know most of the other walkers, except a few I had brief acquaintances with over the years one place or another. There was one woman I could have walked with who is 73 and does the 3 day breast cancer walks all the time. I've known her slightly for a few years. But she does tend to be a know it all, and also something of a complainer and I'd much rather walk alone than with someone I'm not comfortable with. I knew the event organizer, but she was driving a support vehicle for over half of it. Then she hadn't planned on walking, but ended up and getting out to help Mary Ann and keep her company and let someone who had developed severe blisters take over following them. She ended up walking about 18 miles, which totally surprised her. She said the fact she's been going to the gym for a while really helped her, because she isn't a walker. Her husband is the one who first started walking the route and she's always followed in the vehicle. I wish now I would have walked with her and Mary Ann and another one who was with them, but I ended up ahead of them and I tend to walk faster than she could push herself. As someone said, what she was doing pushing herself along the highway was like walking the distance on her hands. The road is not smooth so that the wheelchair just glides along, like a flat polished floor or something. It took a lot of work to do what she did.
We have had so much rain, and earlier in the day it had been very dark and overcast and a little rain. But by the time we set out the clouds were breaking up and the stars coming out and we didn't have any rain at all.
After I stopped walking for good, I rode in the vehicle that was pulling a 5th wheeler that also had supplies and food in it. For a while I rode in the vehicle, then later in the trailer lying down on a small couch in it. Shared half of it with someone on the other end. We would drive up ahead for 3 miles, then park and wait for any walkers to come along. It had a bathroom in it too, in addition to the portapotty. I would have fallen asleep in it but when we stopped and parked and had the door open the flies kept bothering me. It would have been too hot with the door closed. There were 3 or 4 of us at times riding in there. Since we were going so slow riding in the trailer was okay.
When we got about 10 or 12 miles outside of Deming, it's more desert than where we started. There were tons of great big brown grasshoppers all over the place.
I rode to the destination area, where there were a few that had finished and a few who rode waiting for the bus that would take us back to our cars. Had about an hour to wait there. I would have liked to stay with the trailer and truck I had been in, as they were going to wait to cheer the last ones in, but they were at least an hour or so behind and I was so tired having done all that walking and been up all night. This was 2:30 the next afternoon. So I caught the bus back and there was a guy there who had hamburgers and hot dogs made for us. I'm sorry, I know those hamburgers weren't healthy but they were so good! He had learned to cook in the army and made these big fat burgers with bacon wrapped around and cooked together. I know my vegetarian friends are cringing, and I know that was a ton of fat, but I still really enjoyed them! Then I drove back home (about 20 miles away) and hit the bed and slept till the next morning!!

I did all that walking with no problem or injuries. The next day I was tired, but not as bad as I thought. I took a couple of short walks around a few blocks just to kind of keep loosened up. On my last walk around a few blocks in broad daylight I tripped on a curb and fell. Of course I looked around to see if anyone saw LOL. I skinned my knee a little, and my hands hurt a little but nothing bad and I finished my walk home. But by night my hands both hurt a lot more and got swollen. I don't know if I bruised them badly or chipped something or what, but the outside around the palm area but on the side of my hands have hurt somewhat all week. But they are getting better. It's just so funny to me how I could walk almost 20 miles in the dark with no incidents, and then walk around a block and fall LOL! No worse than a couple of falls I've taken running in the past. But as they say, most accidents happen close to home!

We've had so much rain and a lot of flash flooding of creeks and arroyos all around New Mexico, including here, and I haven't gotten out to hike for a little while. Usually our summer rains are done by the end of August but this year they have gone on and on and lately gotten worse. Now the ground is like a sponge that is so soaked it can't hold any more water. There has been a lot of devastation all over from flash floods. One in a creek about 8 miles from me roared through little town and did a lot of damage, including one mobile home that was washed down the creek. The man and woman that lived there were out of town, but the grandma and a couple of kids were there and they barely had time to get out, hop in the car, and drive for higher ground before it picked this mobile home up and carried it a little ways until it lodged against some trees. Other homes got some damage. These are creeks that are dry the majority of the year, and rarely ever flood and never as high as this was. Other small towns around us have been hit too, including one about 30 minutes west of me, another 60 minutes west of me, and Mogollon historic mining town in the mountains about 90 minutes northwest of me. And other areas east and just a number of places all over the state. We haven't had this much rain in a long time, and this year and last year we had some huge wildfires. The burn scars from them meant there was nothing to slow down the water to be absorbed and so it gained a lot of momentum. The Gila river, near the Gila Cliff dwellings about 70 miles north of me is usually about a foot and a half deep and it rose to over 15 feet last weekend, leaving debri on the only road into the area and some people had to be rescued by helicopter after being stranded camping. One was a group from an alternative high school here a week ago Friday, then the next day two couples and a 3 years old. It's just been so devastating to some many areas I know all around me. And because we have a lot of creeks and arroyos everywhere, not great for hiking safely in so many places. Streams and creeks usually dry have turned into raging rivers of water and almost every day I get flash flood warnings on my phone. And almost every day the weather prediction will be for dry weather in a couple of days and then it changes to more rain the next day. We needed rain so badly, but this has gone beyond anything I ever remember experiencing. We have flash floods, but not as wide spread and devastating as these have been.

Okay, I've gone on long enough. Hope you all have great day!
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