By Janelle Ramon
A week before I left for Washington D.C., I was busy finding shoes that were comfortable yet stylish. I knew that I would be walking and standing for long period on this Maymester adventure. Feeling very worried about not finding shoes that would provide comfort, I finally came across a shoe brand from Hungary made by Josef Seibel. The brand is a European comfort shoe that is designed to support the feet for a day’s comfort. Once I tried the shoes on, I could immediately feel the quality of the brand.
I arrived in Washington D.C. on Saturday, May 19, in mid-afternoon. The pedometer that I always wear read that I was almost to 10,000 steps. For the average person, walking 10,000 steps a day is the minimum for a healthy lifestyle. Two thousand steps equal one mile. The class had the afternoon off until 8 p.m. before touring the monuments at night. Little did I know that my feet were going to know pain that I have never experienced before later that night.
It was already time to leave for the tour and my feet felt all right. But minutes then hours went by, and I was still on my feet. I thought that maybe I would have to rest or that the class would use transportation to get to where we were going, and that I would use that time to rest my feet. That was not to be because the class ended up walking to the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and passed by the White House. When I got back to the hostel, my pedometer read that I did 35,731 steps in one day. That’s almost 18 miles. Of course that is a lot of steps, but the day before I had an hour of sleep and was up at 1:30 in the morning. The pedometer I own is an Omron that clips to the side of your clothes. Everyday at midnight the pedometer resets.
That night I had two blisters on the side of my pinky toes. My feet ached so bad that I had to clench my teeth to keep from yelling out to reach the top bunk bed that night. I never walked that much in one day, and the shoes I bought were useless. Waking up the next morning, I immediately could tell the pain and the blisters had not disappeared during the night. I had hoped that getting some sleep with my feet elevated would make them better. The pain, however, did not go away. For the rest of the trip, I averaged more than 21,000 steps a day.
At one point, I didn’t enjoy the trip because of the pain in my feet. I would just look straight ahead and focus on getting to my next destination. Exhausted and sleepy, I would forget to call my mother to wish her goodnight. A day before we left for New York, I bought New Balance tennis shoes in D.C’s Chinatown. Since I have a wide foot, those are the only brand I use for long periods of walking. I don’t know why I was under the impression that I couldn’t wear tennis shoes on the trip. I didn’t take those shoes off once I got them on my feet. Not only that, I put the foot insoles I had from my other shoes into the New Balance.
This trip proves that I have extra strength I didn’t know existed inside me. Traveling to Washington D.C. and New York, the lifestyle is really so different from mine. The thing those two cities had in common is that people walk everywhere they go. In San Antonio, it is not so simple. Everything is so spread out and then there is a high chance of crime happening, especially toward young women. I did a total of 214,283 steps. I walked 69 miles, and never again am I going to give myself the excuse that I’m tired because I now know what it really feels like to be tired.