I read books about exercise- Chi Running and Fix your Feet. I set out a training plan involving gradually increasing my distance and pack weight, and doing specific exercises to targeted at my hiking form.
Despite my efforts, around New Years, my old knee pain (IT band problem) returned. I overdid it by hiking too fast with too much weight than I was probably ready for. (oh, I miss my lightweight pack!) Since then I've reduced the weight I've been carrying to 15-20 lbs, so it doesn't hurt. However, doubt at my physical ability had hit an all-time high. What if the only reason that I've always felt so strong as a backpacker is because my pack weight is light? When I carry a heavy pack for the long water carries on the PCT, could I get too injured to hike?
Fortunately, I’ve had other things to keep my busy…. preparing for another aerial dance show (i.e. dance trapeze and aerial silks- sort of like Cirque du Soleil- only at an amateur-level). I thought this might give my legs and feet time to heal. Ironically, all the aerials practicing left me exhausted and ever more sore. It doesn’t seem like rest climbing the silks over and over, or when I am walking around with my pack at 6 AM.
|Why I'm so sore- climbing up and down and up and down.|
|In-town hiking in the morning.|
I've learned a few lessons from getting ready from our aerial performance that I hope will help me for the PCT. From doing aerials, I learn that soreness is part of the process, and is a physical sign that I am getting stronger, but I also learn how to not push it too far. I stretch, I rest, I do exercises to improve my form, then I go back to practice.
|Massaging my sore forearms.|
|Photo by Susan.|
When I look down at my hands and see my callouses, I know I have the hands of an aerialist. I realize… I AM an aerialist! I practice saying "I AM a PCT thru hiker” and can hardly believe it will become true in another 2 months.
|The final performance goes really well! Photo by Susan.|