The clock is ticking. With a little over 3 weeks until the start of the march, myself and the other Innocence March walkers (Justin Brooks and Alissa Bjerkhoel) have been super busy. Between training, promoting, and working on the clemency petitions, there has not been much rest. We did, however, have time to sit down with Ignacio Ayana last Friday. Ayana is a friend of the California Innocence Project that has climbed nearly every mountain in the world. He lost a few toes climbing to the top of Mount Everest. He’s also run from Cabo to Tijuana in 50 days (roughly a marathon a day), biked from NYC to Tijuana in 30 days, and finished many other crazy athletic feats. He is, by all accounts, an insane athlete.

We spent the lunch hour discussing the most essential elements of a long trek such as the innocence march. Ayana stressed the importance of a healthy diet, quality gear, and keeping your mind in check. In fact, Ayana talked about the importance of envisioning only the completion of the day’s task. We were instructed to never think about Sacramento. We are only to think about the end-point for the day we’re walking.

This past week, Alissa and I spent a few days on training walks. We varied the distance but can easily do 10+ miles. As we get closer to the actual start day, we are going to wind down our training and start resting up. We do not want to get any injuries in the weeks leading up to the kickoff. And that makes sense, but a part of me wishes that we could just get away with one more walk before the day. Although they did tell us that the only exercise they would accept would be yoga. One of our friends has recently completed this chicago yoga teacher training course, and has said that yoga is perfect for helping us with our breathing, as well as improving our core strength and endurance. If you ask me, I think this would be really useful before completing our march, as I think we need all the help we can get. We sat it out in the end, but this is definitely something that can be considered in the future, (or even during our recovery). But, hopefully, our training will pay off!

The first day of the march is finally coming together. We will start at California Western School of Law with a press conference at noon. CIP director Justin Brooks will make introductions and Mayor Bob Filner has been invited to briefly address the crowd. We will walk along Harbor Drive, up and over Narragansett Avenue, and down into Ocean Beach. The Harp (4935 Newport Ave., San Diego, 92107) will have drink specials for everyone wearing our awesome new Innocence March shirts (see below; go here to buy yours). There will be a special on beer and shots so be sure to get yours today!

The final day ending the walk in Sacramento is also starting to come together. We’ll have a press conference on the West Capitol steps before presenting the clemency petitions to the Governor. If you can’t make the first day, be sure to come for the last! That, or come to our press conference at San Quentin State Prison on June 13th!

We’d like to thank each and every one of you who have contributed your time, efforts and money to help us on this worthy cause. If you haven’t done so, make a donation to sponsor one of the walkers. We could use your help making sure we have a fresh pair of shoes about 200 miles in.


Ignacio Anaya with California Innocence Project staff.

Ignacio Anaya with California Innocence Project staff.Front