In terms of the solo tasking I have done for SFØ, this weighs in as about the most epic, in my opinion. Especially because after thoroughly destroying my body on a 10-hour death march, I thought I had failed
You see, San Francisco is basically a 7x7 mile square. My original plan was to walk from my home in the center of San Francisco (Cole Valley) to the southeast corner of town, then to walk around the perimeter of the city in a counter-clockwise direction (the entire waterfront), and back home. I figured that this was about 30 miles and that it could be done in about 9 hours.
Boy, was I wrong!
What I ended up accomplishing was a little over half of the distance I had originally intended to walk. When the sun was going down and my body was unwilling to push itself any farther, I called it quits and got on a bus to go home. I felt that it had been a great walk, but that I had only made it about 20 miles. When I got home, in extreme fatigue and pain, I mapped out the route I had covered. Lo and behold, I had walked 25.12 miles!
So my original plan would have been more like a 40+ mile walk. Here's a link to the interactive map of what I did:
And here is a neat picture version:
In case you didn't already know, the distance covered (25 miles) is marathon length. I refer you to this info that I pulled from the inter-web:
"In modern times, the choice of distance for different so-called
marathon races was somewhat arbitrary. The first modern Olympics in
1896 had a marathon distance of 24.85 miles (40 km). Before the 1908
Olympics, the official marathon distance was exactly 26 miles.
However, since 1908 the well known 26 mile marathon has actually
been 26 miles, 385 yards. This is because, for the 1908 Olympics in
London, it was decided that the royal family needed a better view of
the finish line. The race started at Windsor Castle and organisers
added an extra 385 yards to the race so the finish line would be in
front of the royal box.
From that point, the marathon distance became 26 miles, 385 yards
(41.195 km). The International Association of Athletics Federations
(IAAF) adopted the distance as the "official" marathon distance in 1921."
I didn't realize this until afterward! I walked a marathon!
(Even if it was only the 1896 version.)
One of the best things about this task is that I got to really explore Psychogeography. This is great, because as some of you know, I didn't understand Psychogeography or what BartPA was all about as of not long ago. Then anna one sent me this interview with author Will Self:
After listening to this, I had a better grasp and appreciation of the whole Psychogeography concept. I was excited by it. So I really tried to make this trip about exploring my urban environment on a human scale.
I had to follow surface streets most of the time, but when surface streets didn't go where I wanted to go, I improvised. So I sometimes had to traverse overgrown areas, hop fences, and trespass through off-limits property.
When I encountered the 280 freeway, rather than just follow the underpass, I tried to go over the freeway. But what appeared to be a pedestrian overcrossing only went to a bus stop in the middle of the highway. So I tried walking over an onramp bridge, but again just ended up in the middle of many lanes of fast cars. But I walked to a hole in a fence and off-roaded to another spot that went under the freeway.
At another point, I was walking along the Bay in an undeveloped area and hit an inlet that I had to go around.
To do so, I swung around the right side of the fence above and clambered over those rocks in the center. Then there was a lot of trudging through foliage, avoiding of encamped homeless folks, and hopping of fences.
But the great thing about traveling this way is that I discovered a hidden treasure that I would not have otherwise known about. Near Candlestick Point Recreation Area, there is a site that I can only describe as Modern Urban Ruins:
There were structures made of piled-up blocks of cement with steel cables sticking out of them, laid out in intriguing patterns. There were also rusted steel sculptures dotting the landscape:
All in all, it was an amazing experience. I got to explore amazing new (to me) parts of San Francisco and re-confirmed that the city is gorgeous. But the task physically ruined
I thought I'd be able to hack 25 miles, no problem. But by the time I got through Hunters Point, I was totally worn out. I rested for about 15 minutes, and kept going. By the time I hit The Embarcadero, my feet hurt and my leg muscles felt kinda numb. When I got to Chrissy Field, I was in serious pain. I was walking like a man with two artificial legs. I imagined that passers-by looked at me and wondered, "Does that guy have two artificial legs?" Obviously, I was getting delirious.
Since the sun was going down and I had only achieved half of my intended course, I headed towards home, planning to catch a bus as soon as I could. I ended up having to go a ways into The Presidio before I could catch a bus that would take me anywhere near home. I considered trying to walk the extra couple of miles home, but my body was saying "NO" loud and clear.
Finally, I got a bus that brought me within a block of home. Thank goodness I only had to walk a block. I was in bad shape. My legs were all pain. Blisters on my feet. And terrible, terrible SUNBURN:
I've been hurting all week. I was sure that I had permanently damaged my left knee. The pain was awful, and being on my feet all day for work didn't help. The "redneck" jokes because of my sunburn didn't help, either.
In the final analysis, I must concur with niallsb
: DO NOT attempt this task unless you're in good physical shape!
Good enough shape to do a marathon. Because that's what it is.
(NOTE: I'm working on a slideshow of my walk that condenses the 10-hour journey into 5 minutes, with many more pictures than what you see here. I'll put that up as soon as I can work it out.)