Thursday, August 20, 2020

a surprisingly long walk

I thought I was going to do a 23K-step walk last night, but my trek ended up going for 32K steps. That's why I was so tired and achy last night: I had walked a route that was significantly longer than my 25K-step route to Bundang. This was, in fact, closer to the distance I'd normally cover in walking to next-door Hanam City, i.e., 25 km.

It was an informative walk in several ways. First, it allowed me to assess the state of the watercourses. The Yangjae and the Tan Creeks have both fully receded, and the Han River was back to behaving itself: the stretch of the Han that I walked was high enough not to have been swamped during the flooding. While I worry about the appearance of large sinkholes along the Han, my coworker informs me that, according to his Han River bikers' network, road crews are proactively rerouting traffic and engaging in prep work in advance of the coming fissures and sinkholes. The route I took along the creeks and the river was redolent with the pungent stench of low tide: plenty of schmutz had been washed onto land and left to dry and/or rot.

Second, I learned a bit about how out of condition I am. I could feel my energy flagging as the walk dragged on; my back began aching about halfway along the route; I sweated mightily despite the relative coolness of the night (probably thanks to the damn humidity). My feet complained by radiating achiness, and while the bottom of my right foot made it clear that there was a definite problem under the pads of my last two toes, nothing serious occurred: there was a steady, dull pain that never sharpened. My left foot experienced discomfort thanks to some awkwardness in my shoe (I was wearing my size 13s), but nothing debilitating.

Now that I've done a long-ish walk, I need to continue and make this a routine. Conditioning is essential if I plan to walk to Busan, and October isn't far off. As always, I have several options: I can do any combination of creek/Han walks, and there's always the stairwell inside my building, beckoning me with its fey, echo-y voice.

Below, we have proof of my step count. The first image is my step count before midnight; the second image is the count from midnight to whenever I got back to my place. The two stats give a total of 32,247 steps. As I noted above, that's way more than I had intended to walk. I think I added several thousand steps when I took a detour from my office to my apartment instead of going straight toward the Han.

And here are two shots of the Yangjae Creek. In the first photo, the stone footbridge (jinggeom-dari) is visible again; a few days back, it had been completely submerged. The bike paths on the opposite side of the creek is also visible.

On my side of the creek, you can see, below, that everything is back to being high and dry.

Today, after a few hours' fitful sleep, my right foot isn't bothering me as much as I'd thought it might. That's a good thing. What's more, the feeling that some sort of bone spur is protruding from the pads of my final two toes on my right foot has gone away, to be replaced by a gentle, generalized, low-intensity ache. In terms of all the pain I've experienced while distance walking, this ache ranks very low in the pain hierarchy. It's manageable, and for the practical purpose of walking long distances, that's good to know. As long as I can put one foot in front of the other without paralyzing agony, I'm good to go. I can handle a good bit of pain, and this current pain is nothing. It almost feels as if walking 32,000-plus steps has somehow pounded the imaginary bone spur flat, spreading the pain out and diffusing it, if that makes any sense. That's obviously not a medically valid sentiment, but I'm just reporting how things feel.


John Mac said...

Sounds like good news overall. Do you think carrying your backpack will have any impact on the aches and pains?

Kevin Kim said...

Yeah, without a doubt. I'm going to try and lose a few kilos to compensate.