Sunday, January 3, 2021

My heart appreciates my obsessive walking routine, but my gnarled feet do not

Last month, I mentioned that I'm planning to do a two-week, 250-mile walk from Dansville, New York, to Olmsted Township, Ohio, this coming June.

In order to prepare, I walk 5 miles every morning, rain or shine.

Or, given that it's January in Cleveland, "snow or shine." And if we're being honest, there ain't a lot of "shine" here on the North Coast these days.

Once the weather breaks in March, I'll start doing progressively longer Saturday morning walks, culminating in May when I plan to do back-to-back 18-milers as a sort of dress rehearsal for the real thing, which starts June 4th in Dansville.

But for now, it's 35 miles a week without fail. Most mornings I'm up at 5am, and once I get dressed to walk, feed the cats, scoop out their litter boxes, sweep around those boxes, go out and get the papers from the end of the driveway, get some water, and put on my walking shoes, I hit the road.

Given that I walk at a pace of anywhere from 14:30 to an even 15 minutes per mile, I finish almost every walk in somewhere between 1 hour, 10 minutes and 1 hour, 15 minutes.

This is obviously a healthy habit, and I pass the time listening to my beloved Battles of the First World War Podcast and various types of music.

My feet are the ones paying the price.

I was born with wide feet ("Fred Flintstone" feet, I've often called them), to the point that I definitely need a 2E width in most shoes and as much as a 4E with some brands.

Not every shoe comes in widths, though, so for years I've worn lots of shoes that were simply too narrow for my feet.

The result is permanent calluses and rock-hard heels that aren't exactly attractive to begin with.

Now, throw in all of this walking, and the devastation that is my feet is just hideous to behold.

I would show you a picture, but I value our relationship too much to subject you to that.

Terry got me one of those heel scrapers and Cracked Heel Repair ointment, and I do use them from time to time. But if you don't do it every day, it only helps so much.

My current walking shoes are 4Es that I probably shouldn't have bought, as they're really, really wide even for me. One side effect is that I have a nagging blister on the back of my right heel that is currently covered by a band-aid. I also have a deep crack in one of my big toe calluses that doesn't exactly feel great, but I've kind of learned to live with it.

I like to think I'm a cardiologist's dream and a podiatrist's nightmare.

I really should do something about this situation before Wilma and Pebbles start to notice.

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