The Road goes on forever, said Pippin; but I can't without a rest.
Pippin's sentiments are a good fit for the last few weeks of my life. It has been a long time since I've walked more than a mile at a time, and my legs (specifically my outer calves) are starting to complain. I have read several accounts of folks (mainly runners) who have experienced similar discomfort. Some attribute it to lack of stretching or being unaccustomed to exercise, but this pain doesn't seem to come from my muscles, or at least not from the deep tissue. It is confined to an area on the outside of my calves, just under the skin, and it burns like nothing I've ever felt before. I have tried stretching, walking through it, and short breaks along the track, and these things help, but don't really stop the pain. I am not stopping, though. Rivendell (and a healthy body) awaits!
Since I last posted I have walked another 19 miles, bringing my total to 37. Only 421 to go! I need to get myself on some sort of schedule if I seriously expect to complete this quest by December 14, or I'd better be prepared to log 20 miles a day for the last two weeks of my trek. Hey! If hobbits can do it, Christy can to!
At the close of my last post the cynical fox was sniffing his way past the hobbits' camp site. Since then, Frodo, Sam and Pippin have descended from the hills at last, and are heading toward the Woody End. After a close call with a Black Rider, the hobbits are forced to abandon the road for a while. This hampered their progress, and made their walk more tiresome:
The shadows of the trees were long and thin on the grass, as they started off again. They now kept a stone's throw to the left of the road, and kept out of sight of it as much as they could. But this hindered them, for the grass was thick and tussocky, and the ground uneven, and the trees began to draw together into thickets.
Last week I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (yes, there is a point to this detour). It follows the stories of two overweight men who turn to juicing in order to get healthy. One scene plays out frequently throughout this film: one of the fellows meets friends or family in a social setting. While his loved ones gorge on ribs, bite into juicy hamburgers, or order another beer, our fellow takes slow sips of a glass of juiced beets, spinach, carrots, and apples (or whatever was on the menu for him that night). Talk about tiresome!
Surely the pleasant walk through Cholesterol City, which is lined with hot dog stands, vending machines, and the homes of well-meaning aunts bearing vats of banana pudding is more appealing to most folks. But our fellows take the rougher route, in order to avoid the Black Riders of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension lurking for them at the end of the road to Cholesterol City. If only the desire to avoid health problems were as strong as that to avoid the Nazgul! Hmmm . . . I wonder if the pull the Ring had on Frodo was as powerful as a good cheesecake is to me?