Last Sunday, my friend April and I went out to Bull Run at exit 40 off of I-66. I didn’t carry a weighted pack since my new Deva 60 from Gregory had not yet arrived. So, really, I’m not sure if I should technically call this a training hike, but I’ve decided to take liberties.
This is it, folks. No more training hikes.
Next weekend I’m moving all of my furniture and boxes down to Virginia Beach, and the following weekend – after four more days of work – I’ll move myself down. I’ll have a handful of days to tie up the last loose ends and spend time with friends/family, and then I’ll be on my way to Georgia, if everything goes according to plan. I’ll definitely have the chance to exercise in the interim, but – if the name didn’t clue you in – Virginia Beach isn’t particularly hilly.
So that’s it. Sunday was my last hike before…the next one, the big one.
Generally, although I really enjoyed myself, it was nothing special. Bull Run’s an area April and I have both hiked many times. In fact, I’d hiked it as recently as three weeks prior. Funny, though, because the experience was completely different. The snow had melted, the streams flowed more heavily, the sky was brighter and warmer. Even so, I could easily forget the details or merge memories with my various other weekend hikes at Bull Run.
However, what made this hike special is that it highlighted the five a half months of effort that I’ve put into preparing for my A.T. thru-hike.
I looked back into my blog archives and counted 19 training hikes (including last weekend) since the beginning of September. 19 hikes in 25 weekends. That averages to about 3.5 hikes per month. I have to be honest: I’m kind of proud of myself.
As the months have worn on, I’ve gotten progressively out of shape and fluffy (ya know, to have reserves for my trek and all), but I’ve kept up the weekend hikes. I think this is less an indication of my fitness level and more an indication of my focus and persistence, and reflecting on that, I’m pretty impressed with myself. I guess I didn’t know I had it in me, nor did I truly realize it before digging back into my old posts.
I can’t claim that I was excited about every single one of those hikes. Some weekends I just felt like watching movies and being lazy. Or maybe I was knee deep in A.T. research and didn’t want to be “distracted” with a hike. And sometimes my excuses and other plans won out. But over the long haul – with the support of family, friends and those of you who read my blog (thank you!) – I proved to myself that I could stick with it.
And stick with it I will…all the way to Mount Katahdin.