It’s thirty-one days until the core pilgrims set out from Vincennes to start the long walk to Notre Dame, and I wanted to mark the t-minus-one-month mark somehow. But, frankly, I’m just not in a philosophical mood today. The week gone by has me kind of thinked-out.
So instead I’ve decided to share with you the sort of train of thought that rolls through my head as I knock out the miles that used to be “training” and are now just “how I live these days.” There’s no particular rhyme or reason or bigger meaning, so don’t bother looking for one. Just thoughts bouncing around like the little white dot on your old tv in a game of Pong.
Here they come, in no particular order...
• My first “training walk” was on my 47th birthday, March 17th, 2017 (yes, Saint Patrick’s Day). I walked 7 miles from the house we were renting to the REI flagship store in downtown Seattle. The walk was easy, until I stopped.
• I now comfortably walk 15-20 miles at a stretch if I have the time. Sure my legs enjoy being propped up at the end of it, but it’s no biggie. I like this.
• Also, I weigh about ten pounds less than I did in March, though I’m not going to tell you what either of those numbers are...
• On the upside, I get to train by walking around Seattle. There are countless coffee shops that make perfect rest stops for me and a clear and sunny day in this city, with still-snow-capped Olympic Mountains to the west and the still-snow-capped Cascade Mountains to the east and the Great Lady, Mount Rainier herself, sometimes peeking out to the south, it’s a great place to allow yourself to be struck by wonderful moments of humility.
• On the downside, can we talk hills? There is a section of this town called “Queen Anne” where (I promise you this is true) walking up the sidewalk, my toe and heel cannot touch the ground at the same time and if I reach my hand forward my fingertips are only inches from the ground rising up in front of me. These sections of the walk are good for prayerful reflection.
• On the upside, speaking with a number of the other pilgrims for the profiles I’ve written here, I feel very much like I’m entering Freshman Year all over again, “meeting” people I haven’t met yet, over the phone, around the country, with various similarities scattered between them but only one unifying theme: Notre Dame.
• On the downside, there is no way I’ll have the opportunity to introduce all the pilgrims before the walk. This actually saddens me mightily. The more stories I get to tell, the more stories I want to tell.
• I need a new pair of shoes.
• The pendulum action of your arms swinging over all those miles can really make your hands swell. Which leads to...
• Pro-tip: wearing bicycling gloves while walking significantly helps reduce the swelling. I have no idea why. Physiologists, feel free to weigh in.
• Indiana in August is going to be stoopid hot. (I recall managing Zahm over a summer and getting into bed one morning just before dawn. Laying there, laying absolutely still, I could feel the sweat trickling off me as the sun was starting to rise, and I remember thinking, “Good Christ, it’s only going to get hotter...”)
• I hope there will be some awesome storms. We don’t really get storms in Seattle and I love storms. The big ones, where the temperature drops twenty degrees in five minutes and the thunder shakes your spine. Love them.
• S-Town is a terrific serial podcast. I listened to it a little while back during a few walks. I don’t listen to any audiobooks (I know many people are hooked on them, but I still need to actually hold a book in my hand) but I have reconnected with some great music. Stone Roses Radio on Pandora has made for a few walks down Memory Lane. Alabama 3 Radio is great for getting me home after a long day on my feet at work.
• I walked past a “Dinosaur Brunch” a few weeks back. There was a sign on a nearby bench announcing the date and time of the jurassic reunion. On a telephone pole was stapled a sign: “DO NOT LICK DINOSAURS.” I would never have thought to do that, but now I’m curious.
• Life is good and Life’s a bitch are not mutually exclusive statements. Au contraire, I often find that Life shows me its best at its worst.
• I laugh a lot – often at totally inappropriate times. This is probably somehow related to the immediately preceding observation.
• Happy Hour is in my room. Hope my roommate knows that.
About The ND Trail Blogger
Tim Deenihan ('92) is a writer, an actor, an impatient philosopher, and the only man in a house of four women. If you're ever in Seattle, look him up - he makes a wicked margarita and a mean manhattan. If you can't get to Seattle, you can find him on twitter as @tinangel. Walk with Tim in August. Join Us.