Ouch!  It’s been a while since walking hurt like this!  My quadriceps muscles are so sore!  My calves are so tight!  At least they take my mind off the blisters on my feet!  What a good time.  Seriously!  Maybe it was the half-dozen large speakers strapped to the top of a van, blaring inspirational music.  The yells of encouragement, the personal challenge, the elaborate costumes, the sense of accomplishment, the beautiful sunshine, the frozen yogurt afterward: they all added up to pleasure!  Bonding with Annie (daughter) & Zach (son-in-law), working the crowds at the exchange points, praising the youngsters who passed me by: I felt connected.  It was a fun day!  The excruciating walking today is worth it.  It really is.  That was the first time I’ve run six miles of serious downhill, for a total of 7.9 miles.  1,700 feet of elevation loss made my legs rubbery; I’ve done many longer runs, but this was the hardest “wall” I’ve hit so far.  I was humbled as my cross training plan, built around foot and ankle troubles, seemed to wilt.  I simply had to go lay down for a while.  Eat.  Drink.  Bathe.  Drink.  Stumble/waddle.  Eat.  Drink!  Then, return to the course to cheer some more!  Go healthy people!!!  ( :