So… About the Last Time – The Trek

In July 2018, I attempted the Colorado Trail. And failed miserably. Well, to be more specific, my feet failed miserably at about 100 miles. I only have a short short video of that horrific moment, but the after effects lasted for weeks. I seriously wondered if I was going to be able to walk when I went back to school in the fall.

I was literally crawling after my feet failed.

My feet

When I first decided to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2005, I slipped my feet into a nice pair of flip flops and went to a special hiking foot clinic. The doctor took one look at my feet and told me to throw my flip flops out the window and never wear them again. That’s actually what he said, that he wanted to throw them out the window. When I sit, I have big feet. Beautiful arches. When I get up, they totally disappear and my knees bump. In fanciful terms, I pronounce.

I’ve generally had custom insoles since that day at the foot clinic. And problems with my feet. My track name is Bubble Toes after all. I WAS named after Jack Johnson’s song, but it was inspired by the tiny blisters on the tips of my toes. I lost all my toenails on my AT hike. The pinkies maybe even twice. And in case you’ve never lost your big toenail, I want you to know that it takes forever to grow back. This however meant that I didn’t have to worry about nail clippers for the last 5 months of my trip.

So

Things weren’t great at the start of the hike in 2018. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been (thanks first grade teaching) and was drinking to deal with my stress of teaching and finishing the little house. It’s not even a great way to deal with your stress, because then it becomes your source of stress. I delayed updating custom soles and shoes until it was too late and we were leaving. These choices all cost me about 400 miles.

The lack of proper arch support along with the extra weight led to a very sudden and very extreme case of Plantar Fasciitis. We were on a 13 mile slackpack at about 100 miles, and what were minor pinches in the morning turned into crippling pain by the end. After resting and icing every 30 minutes for a week, the podiatrist told me I couldn’t really do any more damage, so I got back on the trail.

I could overcome the pain, but I couldn’t walk more than 12 miles a day. We were about to head for the farthest section yet, and I didn’t think it was safe to put ourselves in that situation. Also, I had pissed myself the night before we got to town because I couldn’t get up without help. With pine needles stuck to my fleece pants because I had to crawl. Not how I wanted to spend every night. We stopped our hike at Twin Lakes, left looking at the trail to the Presidential Range.

This time

I would like to say that I have perfectly broken soles to start this CT attempt. I don’t know, but I’m actually trying this time. My Monday nights are filled with a great group of supportive women I can lean on who have taught me other ways to deal with my stress than drinking. For me, living a life without alcohol has made me healthier and happier. Most of the time I wake up to exercise before work. I even bought a vest that I could gradually add weight to and wore it on training hikes and during work so my feet wouldn’t be shocked by 25 extra pounds.

I’m trying to take on less gear weight (hello Duplex and goodbye my beloved Copper Spur) and restock more often. Even though it goes against my innate need for miles, I planned 21 miles or less for the first 10 days of the trip. I don’t know yet exactly how I’m going to take care of myself since I don’t bring anything more and I’m not very good at “just relaxing”. No more time spent rolling my feet with my cork massage ball? Do you write really long blog posts?

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