I have been doing all sorts of things to prepare for my Camino walk later this year. One of those preparatory actions has been the physical preparation. Granted I am not walking the Camino de Frances which is about 500 miles, only a mere 110 miles in about 10 days. But still…
I am a walker. I love to walk. I am always ready for a walk. I walk a mile and half routinely each morning before breakfast. So the thought of walking through Spain doesn’t give me pause. But the actual walking through Spain, that gives me pause. First, we will not be walking at sea level, and while not at high altitude, we will walk at about 400 – 1200 feet. That takes reserve. Second, we are walking for ten days in a row. Using our feet we will propel ourselves through the countryside. Third, we will be carrying some of our daily needs on our back in daypacks. Thankfully we will not be lugging about our personal effects for the entire journey each day, those will be taken by a van to our next destination. While that is some comfort, the need to carry a daypack every day for 10 days adds an additional challenge.
To address my concern about the physical reserve or stamina for the daily hike a friend suggested that I take up running. Running. And since I am game enough to plan a walk in Spain, I am equally game to attempt running. I investigated the deep reaches of the app I use to monitor my walking and found a “Couch to 5K” training schedule and began to run. And to my deepest surprise I discovered that I liked it. From there I joined a running club and have begun registering and participating in a few races. And not only have I gained the stamina to run, I have gained a certain amount of confidence in reaching goals that I previously believed unattainable.
I am not going to attempt to wax eloquent about the effects of running; it is not about that for me. And I don’t have any profound spiritual epiphany while running, at least not on a typical day. But it becomes a thin place when we push ourselves to a limit previously unimagined and go there.