What To Expect When You’re Expecting (To Walk for Hunger)
1) A necessity to wake up early on a Sunday.
I haven’t woken up at 5:30 a.m. since I had a “real” job last year, with maybe one exception to catch a flight, so this was a challenge. But I was determined to arrive ON TIME,* so I drank my coffee, ate some fruit, packed my belongings (including, stupidly, a book), and hit the road.
*Level of miraculatude: Jesus turns water into wine -> The Eagles’ starting quarterback finishes a season -> Jenny shows up somewhere on time.
2) You’ll forget your registration.
Even though I went to work on a Saturday specifically to print it out, and took three-hours out of my day because I got side-tracked by a RISD craft fair, and even though I put my registration IN my purse so I wouldn’t forget it, I still managed to leave it at home.
The realization hit 20 minutes into my drive north on I-95. When I texted M-dog in a panic, he told me he forgot his as well. We were still able to do the Walk, but it was upsetting nonetheless.
3) If commuting via subway, it’s possible you’ll (illegally) park at one station and return home to another one. (see previous blog)
Just me? Okay.
4) The T will offer a free subway pass to walkers.
Provided you show them your registration.
[The kind security guards let me in anyway. God bless them.]
5) The subway will be under construction.
My intent to arrive ON TIME (and actually, at this point, EARLY) came to a crashing halt when we had to exit the subway, wait for a shuttle, commute 15 minutes in traffic to the next stop, and then re-board the subway.
Note: Even “charitable” people are a bunch of ruthless line-cutters and shovers when it comes to a scarcity of shuttles. Imagine a crowd of George Costanzas pushing frail old women out of the way to board a bus (while yelling “Fire!”) and that’s similar to the subway-shuttle scene.
6) There won’t be bathrooms until you arrive at the Boston Commons.
The coffee that got me out of bed at 5:30 a.m. came back with a vengeance. If you recall my bus ride to Milford Sound, I underwent a similar experience where I thought I was going to die or vomit or rupture my bladder. (Potentially all three but in a different order.) I was sweating and nauseated by the end of the third subway ride, and I barely made it to the porta-potties without creating an embarrassing scene.**
**There are few times in my life where I feel like giving thanks—like, sacrificing a pigeon or singing hymns—over the sight of a porta-potty, but this is was one of those times.
7) The archway of balloons is the finish line, not the start line.
It’s my 50/50 predicament. If I only have two options, I will always choose the wrong one.
The police officers kindly re-directed me to the giant START HERE sign down the street.
8) It’s a well-organized event.
Even someone like me, who is bound to get lost, could not do so here. There was no question of where to go (well, beyond the start/finish line dilemma). Streets were marked off for walkers; there were check-in points along the way with long white tables and sign-in sheets; volunteers offered water, encouragement and high-fives; people made signs that were posted along the route to keep our spirits up, etc. I was impressed by the amount of work that went into hosting the 43,000 walkers. Kudos to the organizers and the 2,000 volunteers who worked all day and kept a cheerful attitude despite the George Costanzas in the crowd.
9) The “Walk for Hunger” was not short on food.
It was a sad irony that I somehow ate too much during the Walk. All along the way, concession carts were parked with offerings of ice cream and lemonade, kebabs and pretzels, and the path we walked took us near pizza joints and restaurants that wafted delicious smells at us. I was able to resist all of that (although I planned to get a giant Fro-Yo at the end), but around mile 12 we stopped at the designated picnic lunch spot, and there I met my demise.
They gave out free sandwiches*** and snack bags with popcorn, pita chips, and granola bars. I had a mini box of apple juice that six-year-olds take to school and I drank it as fast as that little straw would let me. Blessed apple juice! The damage, however, was caused by the cart that sold burgers, waffle fries, and giant sausages topped with sautéed onions and bell peppers that looked so mouth-wateringly good that I almost robbed a middle schooler of his.
***these are nothing to write home about, or write a blog about, because they were literally one slice of turkey (OR one piece of cheese) between two slices of bread, and there was somehow a 8-to-one ratio (by volume) of bread to internal sandwich components. No condiments. I’m grateful we received them, but I’d rather the sandwiches have been dressier and gone to people whom the Walk was meant to feed.
I ended up splitting a sausage thing (I don’t know what that’s called. It’s like a hot-dog on steroids), veggie burger, and greasy, homemade fries with M-dog, in addition to the other food we were given.
Positive note: I was not so desperate that I ate the fries that got soaked from the spontaneous water fight that erupted.
Sad note: I was nonetheless still full 8 miles later and did not get Fro-Yo after the Walk.
10) Walking 20 miles in Boston is not that bad.
I didn’t have to change socks. I didn’t get any blisters. The weather wasn’t as stormy as predicted: it was sprinkly and windy at times, but the big rain held off until I made it home—we even had some sunshine and warmth. The first six miles were the longest. The last two miles were the quickest, but only because we ran (and one poor girl broke her wrist during the final sprint, yet still managed to beat us all). We got to tell stories and feel good about doing something positive and take an obscene number of congratulatory jumping photos.
I forgot to post the best one. This one goes out to M-dog:
And here’s my final crossing.