Taking the first step

Written by on May 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Emily Kahm is a first-time walker who's kicked off her training with a one-day walk in Laconia, New Hampshire. Here's what she learned and is looking forward to.

As a first-time Challenge Walker, you'll want to have someone experienced by your side. For me, that experienced someone is my best friend and significant other, Ken, whose mother suffers from MS. Even though I've never participated in charity walks before, his passion for the cause is contagious, and this year I will happily be the second person of a two-person team, the MSchief Makers.

I relocated to Boston almost a year ago, right before the 2009 Challenge Walk — I wanted to participate, but having just moved halfway across the country and started my first year of graduate school the week before, the timing wasn't quite workable. But I swore to myself that I'd be a Challenge Walker in 2010, and now I'm registered and (almost) ready to walk!

I'm new to every part of this walk, so I'll be writing about my initial experiences with training, fundraising, networking … the works! Step one (as well as steps 2, 3, and on up through the thousands) occurred this weekend with my first-ever charity walk: a short, five-mile walk in Laconia, NH. Though Ken normally works the support crew from his bike in MS walks, it didn't take too much convincing to get him to join me on two feet for this trek.

Dylan the dog

Walkers and dogs alike turned out for Laconia's first one-day walk!

Of all the NMSS's one-day walks, this was the first one to be held in Laconia, and it was exciting to be part of a new event. It couldn't have been a more perfect day for a stroll, and there was a great turnout for a new walk (over 100 people … and a lot more dogs than I expected). We didn't spend too much time socializing with the other walkers, but there was something fascinating about knowing we were all here for the same reasons — there was a feeling of solidarity within the group, despite the fact that most of us didn't know one another. It was both unique and exciting to feel at home in a crowd of relative strangers simply because you share a common cause.

The walk itself was comfortable and refreshing, and I was happy to prove to myself that my body can do five miles fairly easily. I made good choices for shoes, socks, and apparel, but I should have been a little more careful when applying sunscreen: for someone with my winter pallor, two hours in direct sunlight will leave one a little singed. But I'll remember these things for my training walks over the summer — five miles is one thing, but 30 needs practice! This shorter walk proved to be an excellent kick-off for my involvement with the MS community, and I'm definitely excited about taking up the Challenge in September, but one thing is for sure: I need to do a lot of walking between now and then!

Kahmmie was a first-year walker in 2010 and had just started to get involved with the MS community, with the inspiration of her then significant other, Ken, this site's webmaster. She lived in the Boston area and attended graduate school full-time.

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