Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Walk of my Life

Today I post a report from my wife, Gina.

I’m proud that she and thousands of other women and men walked two days and 60 kilometers (that’s more than 37 miles) through the streets of Montreal, Quebec, for a good cause:

To raise money for The Week-End to End Breast Cancer.

You’ll find some great tips on how to avoid getting blisters on your feet. And what you can do after getting blisters.

If you’d like to make a donation, just click on the headline or click the link on below the article.

Erich A.

The Walk of My Life
Copyright 2005 By Gina Abate-Angermayr

Boy, did I learn a valuable lesson.

This past weekend, I walked the Walk to end all walks.

In 48 hours, I walked 60 kilometers (37 miles) through the neighbourhoods of Montreal, Quebec with 3,000 (!) other women & men.

We had all committed to raise a minimum of $2000.00 each. Proceeds went to the Montreal Jewish General Segal Cancer Institute to help find a cure for breast cancer.

It was the Week-End to End Breast Cancer.

It was also the weekend to nurse my feet and the half dozen blisters on them. I had spent a total of 2.5 hours sitting in the medical tents getting medical attention for my poor, embattled, and sorefully blistered toes and feet.

The blisters were so bad, that one group of volunteer nurses voted them 'most impressive'.

Everytime I would sit down to get my blisters punctured and drained, I would howl like an injured dog.

The continuous walking caused so much friction, that any attempt to even poke a hole in the blisters sent me through the roof. The stinging sensation alone was enough to cause me to collapse or send me in cardiac arrest or both!

The sad part is I could have easily avoided all this pain and blisters.

Here’s how:

Never underestimate the power of walking

Walking is a great way to stay in shape. However, pounding away at exceptionally long distances on city concrete and asphalt is arduous and non-compromising. Be ready for it.

Wear correct footwear.

Your sneakers are the main key. Buy the right size.

One of the pediatrists treating injured feet at the event, expressed disbelief at the high number of walkers who were wearing the wrong size of sneakers - including myself .The sizing problem ranged from1/2 size to 2 full sizes too small.

How to choose the right size for your shoes

When standing up and leaning your foot toward the front end of the sneaker, your toes should not grind against the edge of the sneaker. Instead, they should sit comfortably. When leaning forward in this manner, you should also be able to fit your index finger (and not more) down the back of your heel. When in the normal position, you should be able to wiggle your toes.

This means, even if a new pair of sneakers feels right at two sizes bigger than what you normally wear, it is the pair for your feet.

Break them in – here’s how:

Your sneakers need to have great shock absorption and flexibility. You don’t want to end up walking long distances in the city or anywhere else for that matter, with a tattered pair of worn out sneakers. Nor do you want to end up with a spanking new pair. An old pair has lost its benefits and a new pair can cause you to have blisters until they are broken in. You can bet on this.

You ask, how long it takes until a pair is broken in?

Wear them for a few weeks, a couple of times a week for a few hours at each time.

How wearing the right socks can make the diference

Do not double-layer your socks. Wear one pair only. Make sure it is made of polypropylene or some other highly functional synthetic fiber. Blacklist all cotton or cotton-blends. Cotton is absorbent and will absorb and keep the water. Wearing socks made of cotton is a sure-fire way to get blisters.

Change your socks often.

Although ultra-functional and breathable, you still need to change your socks every 8-10 kilometers or sooner, depending on how much your footsies sweat. Pack a couple of fresh pairs. The dry pair of socks will bring sweet relief to your hardworking feet. Not changing your socks can cause you blisters. This is a promise.

Why you should trim your toenails down to the right length

On day 1 of the Walk, I had met a young girl in her twenties. Barely 30 minutes into the Walk, she started complaining about her toenails pressing against the front of her shoes. Soon enough, at the first pit stop she removed her shoes and trimmed her toenails with a nail file she pulled out from her waistbag.

Long toenails serve no purpose and are actually a hinderance when walking. The constant pressure of the nails agasinst the sneakers cause the toes and feet to curl back and as a result, blisters will form on your feet. Trim your toenails down to a short length.

Massage your feet with Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly such as Vaseline is an aid in helping prevent blisters. Massage it into your feet. It discourages friction.

Caring for blisters

Once a blister has set in, there’s not much you can do except tend to it properly.

After having disinfected, punctured and drained it, you should be covering it with Spenco 2ndSkin. This gel-like membrane is nothing short of a miracle. When applied, it relieves and protects, and allows you to go on with your activities almost pain-free.

Oddly enough, the medical tents at the Walk had run out of this product very early on the first day of event. Our blisters ended being dressed the old-fashioned way, with band-aids and gauze mesh, which helped just a little and barely relieved the pain.

From now on, I’ll carry a pack of Spenco 2ndSkin when going hiking or on long walks.

When dealing with pain, I will no longer leave anything to chance.

Armed with this invaluable experience, I'm confident it will make my next year long distance walk or hike a far more pleasant and comfortable one.

Gina A.

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