Last weekend I hopped in my car and drove out to a nearby state park to do some hiking. The weather was mild and sunny- it was the first warm air I’d felt in what seemed like years (this has been such a long, cold winter). I was excited to be outside and to get on a trail, and to actually begin my training.
I’ve been to this park many times before, and I know its trails inside and out. There are four ‘wooded’ trails that provide about 13 miles of hiking, and a 5-mile paved “multi-use” trail that loops around in a circle. In the past I’d always hiked the trails that run through the woods: there are several hills, and few people hike them, which I like. I never really measure my distance when I hike (though this is about to change), but I’d guess that I typically hike 4-6 miles.
I got to the park and realized that the trails are almost completely covered with snow. Of course. If I were walking the Camino at a different time of the year, I might have considered hiking through the snow, but since I’ll be in Spain during June & July, there’s no need for me to attempt to snow-shoe it through the park.
I was bummed, at first, but then realized that I could walk the multi-use trail instead. It’s a paved trail, and that’s probably a good thing; a portion of the Camino (I’m not sure how much… 1/3 of it?) is on paved roads, and it’s probably good experience for my ‘training’ to include all types of surfaces.
So, I walked. I’ve been out to the park multiple times in the last week, walking 5 miles, 9 miles, 6 miles, 7 miles. My feet hurt, a bit, but by the next day they usually feel better.
And then there are the blisters.
I have a few, and they’re not bad. If anything, I was sort of glad to see them (probably the last time in my life that I will say something like that). I don’t have the shoes I’ll be taking on the Camino yet, so these blisters don’t tell me too much… and yet, it’s a good reality check. If I’m not careful with my feet, I will get blisters on the Camino. Once I get my Camino shoes, I’ll hopefully be able to figure out where the problem spots on my feet are going to be. In the meantime, I’m getting some practice treating blisters/practicing better prevention.
So as I sit here, early on a Friday morning, drinking some coffee before heading into work, I’ve got a couple small blisters on my toes and a dull ache in my legs. But I don’t mind. Signs of things to come.