I thought it would be my knee. I hurt my knee in a skiing accident when I was around 14 and it hurts from time to time. But so far, any pain during training has been mostly from the ankles down. Mainly my left foot.
I don’t think it was a mistake to train up to take the Forest Service “Pack Test” at the arduous level. This gave me a clear goal and tight timeline. I do, however, think it was a mistake to do nearly all my training on pavement. I’ve heard thru-hikers complain about road walks, and now I know why. I’m certain this was the proximate cause of my left foot pain.
So, I took the Pack Test on Wednesday, and then went backpacking Friday through Sunday, and put a hurt on myself. The next Monday and Tuesday I could barely walk because my calves were so sore. But muscle pain and soreness don’t worry me too much. By Wednesday my calves were feeling better, and that’s when I noticed the pain down at the bottom of my shins, just above the ankle. The expedition’s Chief Medical Officer (my Dad) diagnosed me with mild shin splints.
So, instead of building strength and endurance, I spent most of last week resting. I certainly don’t want arrive to the trailhead already injured! I won’t make it to Canada if get hurt in the first few weeks.
I know it’s true that there’s no real way to train for walking all day every day other than to do it. But I also know that you can’t be in too good of shape to start something like that. But I’m told that there’s just not time to heal on a thru-hike, so start slow and don’t get hurt.
I’m in spot I didn’t see coming a month ago, wondering how much I can push it. How much I need to push it. And how much is too much?
Considering the limited number of hours left before my feet hit the trail and all the things I still need to do before I leave, the amount of training I do is probably going to be pretty limited anyway. Wish me luck.