Sunday, April 28, 2024

2024 MS Walk

It’s time for the MS Walk!! Denver’s MS Walk is May 4, and I will be walking it in conjunction with training for the Bolder Boulder 10k. Here is the page where you can sponsor me in the MS Walk:

Every donation helps move toward ending MS and the devastation it causes. Thank you for all of your support of the many years I have been doing this walk. 

Yes, I am doing the Bolder Boulder this year!! Here’s what has been happening in my world over the past year:

It’s been another favorite year of my life, much like the year before it, but for different things that have happened. I’ve continued to work at improving, and the BOEC (where I ski) asked if they could tell some of my story and be one of their featured participants for 2023. Filming started last February, and here is the final video which tells my story and shows me walking in March (of 2023):

They also interviewed one of my instructors who had this to say (it’s fun to watch):

In June I was honored to be asked by the BOEC to give a short talk on what the BOEC means to me at an annual fundraising dinner they have every summer in Breckenridge. I recorded my talk and then typed it up (it’s partway down this blog entry:

All of this reinforced that skiing has always been an important way I felt I was still an athlete. So was handcycling which I learned to do through the BOEC. Both skiing and handcycling felt half like physical therapy, half fun, and are all outside which I love. Off the slopes and trails - inside - I do a lot of physical therapy exercises which are always changing to meet what I need: balance, strength, or something else. 

Also inside, when we had bad weather, I started walking around a track at our local fieldhouse. One day when walking there, I saw a machine called the Arc Trainer. It is used by professional runners to cross train, and is as close to running as one can get on a machine without actually running. I decided to try it and it has been a huge asset in teaching my legs to turnover more quickly since that isn’t something that has come naturally with the standard walking I do. Running typically means a turnover rate of 165 steps per minute and I have worked up to 149 steps per minute (for a short amount of time) since January. I’ve also found that walking to the beat of music while using the Arc Trainer helps teach my legs to keep a consistent pace. 

Fun facts: on the Arc Trainer, I warm up walking to the song (and thus the tempo) “Walk like an Egyptian” before transitioning to my version of speed walking: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” (Proclaimers) which is 130 beats per minute, and then “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (Twisted Sisters) which is 149 beats per minute - those are my “fast walking” songs. Mid-tempo walking songs for me are most Madonna songs (True Blue

Album) and “Walk the Dinosaur.” A good ending tempo song is “One Night in Bangkok.” I just started trying to do some of these tempos when walking outside (versus on the machine). It’s much harder!! So now if you want to know how fast I am walking, you can go walk to these songs. 

Music has always been an important part of my life. I was playing the piano recently and using the pedals feels natural now, and not the exercise it used to feel in lifting up my toes. Bonus: piano music generally sounds better with pedaling. The feeling of my fingers is better too, so I had my flute repadded (it’s old and the pads that are attached to the keys were worn) and I can feel the keys better and better with time. I went back for the Kenyon College Chamber Singers reunion this past May and noticed that, in addition to being able to walk across campus to rehearsal while carrying a cup of coffee, my breath support, which is critical in singing, has improved a lot. I continue to work on this through voice lessons…. I’m not sure that my voice teacher realizes that working on air flow, being reminded to keep my chin up, and other things are also a part of physical therapy for me. But the joy of getting so much that I took for granted back, and being able to make music again the way I used to make music is hard to describe. Our cats do not appreciate it. We remain in negotiations as to what they will tolerate (ha ha).

Back to running. I have run very short distances at home when no one is watching. I walked two 5ks this past year. And as I end this email (blog) about my life right now, I think of how far I have come - from exhaustion with everything I did, to taking almost an hour to walk around the track once, to now training for the Bolder Boulder 10k - 6.2 miles. I’ve walked 6.2 miles three times in my training so I know I can do this. It’s just adding thousands of people to the mix on race day that will be a challenge. 4 weeks left. 

Thank you again for all your support, whether it be financial or otherwise. And please financially contribute, if you can, using the link at the top of this email. I’ll send pictures after the Bolder Boulder.


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