Friday, August 23, 2013

Why I walked for 10 hours straight

On April 6, 2013, I set off at 7 am and did not stop walking until I had walked the entire circumference of Champaign-Urbana, a little over 29 miles.  I reached the exact point I had begun, having come full circle, at around 5 pm. I've had time to mull over what this walk meant to me and now present this fairly wordy post about the experience.
Why did I do it?  In honor of Sully, our beloved Pembroke Welsh Corgi, who passed away September 2012.  It was coming up on his Gotcha day (April 15) and what would have been his 10th birthday (May 11).  I couldn't let those dates slip by, I wanted to do something special in his honor.  I linked the walk to my fund-raising efforts so that I could donate money to three of my favorite animal charities but in reality the walk itself was not intended to be a money maker.  No one sponsered me per mile or made bets on how I would go before I quit.  I made money by making and selling dog crafts, household items and plants and was able to donate $100 each to the Champaign County Humane Society, CorgiAid and Critter Coral.
The walk was really a personal challenge to myself, inspired by Sully's courage and bravery, I would try something new that I had never done and that scared me a bit.  When he came to us, Sully was a shy boy who had most likely never lived inside a house and certainly had never attended an obedience trial or gone on a family vacation.  But he was so dedicated to us and willing to trust,  he gave every outing and new experience his best shot, brave in the face of so many scary things that are commonplace to many dogs.  And so I took to the road to walk what for me is a HUGE distance, not knowing if I could finish, scared I would be forced to quit, hoping along the way that I would have time to reflect on his short life, the fantastic times we had, how he blossomed and became a more whole dog, able to enjoy a squeaky toy, a trip to the park, a spot on the couch and in out hearts.  I had many hours to contemplate also the final decisions we had to make, if they were the best course of action.  I can't say I had any real breakthroughs during the walk, there was not a point where I thought "I am cured, the pain is gone and all is well." but I didn't really expect that.  Still now, typing this it painful to think about Sully, happy and healthy, enjoying summer and seemingly the next minute fatally ill.
But while the walk didn't trigger any hard-and-fast lasting mental turning points, I have been left with one big physical reminder of my walk, why I did it and what it meant.  The walk went fine, I was  sore for the next few days but most of my body recovered.  But lingering pain in my right knee and ankle led me to Carle Sports Medicine.  After prescribed exercises and total rest for well over a month, I was back to normal in most regards but I will always have a knee and ankle that remember April 6, 2013.  And when I can no longer remember the exact pattern of Sully's blaze or which of his little back toenails was black, I can take a nice long walk and get a twinge in my ankle and know that part of me remembers.  Not unlike a tattoo, it is a permanent physical change that can't be erased with time, in honor of one loved and lost.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 2013

We took a little vacation up north.  Dot enjoyed the fresh air and lake water!