On Memorial Day, my college roommate, Gloria, and I (of course now more than four decades older) walked the Bolder Boulder. I haven’t participated in that lovely mob scene for twenty years, but Gloria and her husband were visiting us from Boston and it seemed like a challenging thing to do, especially given my Camino start date of September 1.
Neil and Alan drove us down, dropped us off, and navigated the Boulder traffic until they found a hole-in-the-wall bagel place on the Hill. We queued up at the start position, along with a total of nearly 49,000 other walkers and runners, and prepared to enjoy a most beautiful morning meandering throughout the streets of Boulder. I had my ear buds and iPod, loaded up with my favorite “walking paced” music, and kept the volume low, so the beat would almost unconsciously move me forward, without disturbing the thoughts in my head or my impressions of the environment as my legs carried me through.
Two hours later, Neil and Alan met us inside Folsom Field after we finished our 10K walk. Gloria was 9 minutes ahead of me, since I lollygagged a bit more along the way. In that two hours, Gloria and I were treated to all manner of live music in driveways, on street corners, in parking lots. We also thoroughly enjoyed the belly dancers, Irish dancers, hip-hop dancers, as well as marveling at the costumed fellow-walkers who surrounded us! Each kilometer, each mile marker, was noted overhead with a marker banner, and at about 3/4 of the way through the distance, we reached the altitude summit:
I found that I was most grateful for all the Boulder residents who stood at the end of their driveways with hoses, spraying our too-warm bodies. At each “water station”, I stood with my back to the spray, while the “hoser” moved up and down, soaking me from head to toes . . . until the next soaker down the block could add to my relief by doing it all over again.
This little Memorial Day adventure reminded me yet again that my Camino de Santiago trip is a perfect one for me. I love to walk, love to watch the clouds, trees, and the people around me, while still maintaining my little bubble of solitude. Granted, I had no twenty pound pack on my back, and didn’t walk for six or eight hours, day after day, on this 10K. But I did confirm that my body held up, no blisters, no hot spots, and only some foot-fatigue when it was all said and done.
At the finish line, well within Folsom Field, the throngs cheered all of us. LED signs flashed “SMILE – CAMERAS AHEAD” and we did smile, not only for the cameras, but for a job well-done.
Unfortunately, the “camera” crew then sent each of us an e-mail, offering to let us have our photos for, oh, $54.95. Yikes! I think I’ll just savor the memories in my head, rather than in print.
The Bolder Boulder allowed me to check off a two-hour walk, listed in my training schedule, and I’m set for another two hour walk tomorrow. I am only three months from the BIG Start Gun . . . the one in my core that will take me to St. Jean Pied-de-Port for the beginning of a journey 100 times the length of this one. My walk across Spain begins on my mother’s birthday. And I can hardly contain myself.