I think it’s fair to say that since Christmas, I’ve just assumed that 5 months of leading treks in Guatemala would leave me with more than enough residual fitness to hike (or at least start hiking) the Pacific Crest Trail. Fast forward 3 months, fill me with more burgers and beer than one consumed on the last stint of travelling in total and it’s time to make that same assessment.
In short, I’m just not the same. Half an hour of (slightly) competitive five a side proved that a) fitness types are pretty different and b) I couldn’t say I was at the top of any one of them. Promising not to panic, all you have to do is get the legs moving again. So, with this in mind, I have a three pronged approach to getting fit again before the big kick off in 3 weeks (3 weeks?!).
1. Get out with Holly (the parent’s dog) in order to get some solid miles in to the body. The fact that they live in beautiful Devon is a massive perk, with some cracking countryside just out the front door. It would actually be more accurate to say that the reason to walk the dog is to see the countryside and the perk is to get fitter.
The PCT adventure is all about the miles of walking out west, seeing the desert, the mountains and the wilderness. But Devon will always be home, the rolling hills and the familiar bird calls are ingrained in my mind, my values, in the very spirit with which I like to think I approach life. Having this window before the trail with which to explore has been incredible, especially in the guise of training. Thank you Devon.
2. Keep playing 5 a side with the lads. We’re pretty terrible which is a surprisingly good thing, we have to dig deep and run that extra yard just to compete. The short bursts of pace, the twisting and turning and the concentration required is so so different to being able to drive out 20 miles of plodding a day, but getting the legs, heart and lungs stronger again makes me happy.
Plus scoring goals and kicking people is fun.
3. Don’t stop moving. When Mum needs the compost heap dug over, do it. When Eleanor challenges me to a race, accept it. When the option is to cycle or drive, jump on the bike. It’s not just the physical fitness that has tailed off, it’s even the attitude of being constantly in motion.
It’s pretty much non-stop at Quetzaltrekkers. If you’re not trekking, you’re racing around Xela to buy food for the treks or for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were promo runs, trips to request internet repair from the dodgy computer shop, pull up challenges, stair shuttles to dry tents out, lugging the recently filled purified water back and forth, riding the beer bike, the occasional evac…it was never ending. Life wasn’t sedentary and we were healthier and happy because of it.
If, by doing this trek, we and the people we speak to just do one extra activity a week, then I think we’ll all be better because of it. It’s a lesson for life. Don’t let your physicality go to waste, it’s a gift and it’s a bloody awesome one (awesome one, awesome one, awesome one… (always fade out in a montage))