I've done three marathons, two half marathons, and a half dozen 10K's, all in the last six years. I finished the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure just about two months ago - a three day walk of nearly 60 miles to combat breast cancer. For every one of these - well, not the latest 10K maybe - I have trained and trained hard. So what have I done to prepare for this backpacking trip that starts tomorrow (as I write this on Thursday, November 17)? After all, we are talking hiking in the mountains for 21 miles, carrying a fairly heavy pack with everything I will need to not freeze to death for three days.
Short answer - not much. Obviously, if I can walk 60 miles (carrying no pack) and run much of a 10K (walking the rest) a few days after that with no preparation for a run, I am at a decent level of fitness. It is not like I have not left the couch for 2 years and eat potato chips all day. I am in pretty good shape, even for a younger man, much less one of my advancing years. But I should have been doing some things to prepare for this tough upcoming hike, more than I have done. Plus no matter what else, I just cannot shake this painful plantar fasciitis after more than six months. It is no where near as bad as it was in May and June, but it still hurts.
So what have I done? Well, you can read about some of it in this blog - several recent hikes, including two in the mountains. And I have tried to break in my new boots, both on hikes and just wearing them.
What else should I have done? Well, lots, actually. I should have been doing a series of strengthening exercises that were in one of my recent backpacker magazines. I should have loaded a pack with 35 pounds of junk - jugs of cat litter, water, whatever - and walked on trails or at least on a treadmill on an incline. But I have been having some back pain, and that made keeping up with some of the exercises painful. And then there is the time factor - there is never enough time to do everything. This working for a living sure takes away from other aspects of life. And then some of that is just making excuses - we all do that.
Bottom line - while I know I am fit enough to do this hike, I could be better prepared physically. Hopefully, I won't pay a high price for my lack of preparation. I will learn soon enough.
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