Hey, way to go with your distance walking! My wife and I are also going to be in this contest, and we also travel long distances by foot (we're ultramarathon runners). Good luck!
Thanks! I've grown really fond of it. I don't think there's any freer feeling in the world. You can go just about anywhere the other modes of transportation can keep you from, there's no dependence on vehicles or fuel (and the amount of money that goes into those), and you can really take in the world in a way that you can't do from a vehicle. I'm lucky that both at home and on campus that I'm close enough to stores that I can do all the shopping that I have to do (which really isn't all that much) on foot.
As for my exercise routine today... I was going to make the 6.4 mile trek to Goodwill and back to see about finding some books (I love Yahoo! maps... I can plan an exact route and get the mileage
)... but I decided to take a different approach today.
Somebody (don't remember who off the top of my head) suggested carrying a pack to work on my back in hopes of strengthening it up and eliminating my poor posture. Since this is something that will mimick the longer treks I'll be taking by foot, it seemed like a good solution (on top of other work I'll do when I get back to campus and can work in the gym).
I put two 15 pound weights and some clothes in a backpack and wore it around for about 2 1/2 hours. I didn't want to make a 6.4 mile trip with the extra weight, so I did another half an hour on the stair stepper with the pack on today. Boring, as usual, but I'll live.
I definitely feel like I'm sitting and standing straighter now. I liken it to a baseball player taking practice swings with multiple bats or with a doughnut on the bat; after being forced to straighten my back out with extra weight on it it's a lot less hassle when I take the extra weight off. I'll wear it for a while tomorrow and then think about whether I want to continue packing it around on campus or if I'd just rather go to the gym and do all my back work there.
On the downside... I've gained four pounds. I've been working a little bit more vigorously the last 2 or 3 days, but I don't think I could have gained that much muscle. However, the 3 weeks that I've been home I haven't been hidrating like I should have been (or eating or sleeping or exercising well for that matter). I hidrate better on the days that I do at least some sort of physical activity... so it might be from all of the water I've consumed in the last few days. I'm not too worried about it and expect it to drop off again after I get back to campus and can concentrate on exercising more and can stock up on raw veggies at the all-you-can-eat salad bar.