Well the intense training for The Breast Cancer 3 Day season has started. I’ve been piddling around with walking for a few weeks … a few miles here, a few miles there, back and forth to the kitchen counter to grab some reese’s peanut butter eggs, etc. But this week I hit that mother hard.
HOLLIE was in town for a few days and to celebrate we walked nine miles on Thursday. And six on Friday - which was going to be twelve but when a second blister popped up ON TOP OF THE FIRST BLISTER on my ring toe, we called it quits-a-roo. I can’t describe how different it is walking with someone than walking alone. When I walk alone, I have a variety of distraction techniques. Sometimes I listen to music, sometime I call my mother, and sometimes I just walk in silence and think about the next talk I have or how I can grow my business or titles for my books that I haven’t written. Lately I've taken to downloading audio books onto my iPod and I walk around listening to Dean Koontz. Who rocks words extremely hard. This latest novel I'm listening to, The Good Guy, is quite suspenseful and I can only imagine how fun it is for the people who pass me on my route to see me suddenly throw my hands over my mouth as my eyes grow wide and I shout, “NO!” and “OHMYGOODNESS!” and “AH! INEVERSAWTHATCOMING!”
During the 12 walks that made up the 3 Day season last year I walked with a lot of people. It’s part of my job, you know. And I did love that part. I enjoyed walking with and talking to other walkers. I enjoyed hearing their stories of why they walk. I enjoyed giving them encouragement when they needed it and, frankly, taking some myself when I needed it. These people are amazing. Open and honest. Gentle. Funny. Willing to lend a hand, an ear, willing to share their feelings deeply. But as much as they share and give and as vulnerable as they are across those 60 miles, they are still strangers to me. Less so after we’ve seen and poked at each other’s blisters, but strangers still.
Walking with HOLLIE is completely different than that. I won’t say the nine miles on Thursday (and the six on Friday) flew by but I will say I would do them all over again, daily, if I could have that kind of quality time with my friend. We hit every topic imaginable. We talked about sex education (our apologies to the family at 68th and Penn who heard HOLLIE shout the word clitoris loud enough to shake windows). We talked about high school track. We talked about weddings, divorces, family issues – oh dear did we talk about family issues! We talked about spinach and politics and the Body exhibit at Union Station. We discussed our independence, mini-coopers, vests, and shoe choices. We talked about small businesses, taxes, banking and what the earth would look like if people suddenly disappeared. And, certainly, we talked about boys. Because after all, we are girls.
Even with all that talking, there would inevitably be pauses in the conversation. When things would get quiet, we would continue walking and enjoy the silence for a few steps … and then one of us would say, “Isn’t it nice to not have to talk all the time?” and the other would say “You know I have something to say about that…” and we’d have a nice long conversation about how we don’t need to have nice long conversations.