After returning from Peru, having not been physically able to do the hike I really wanted to do was demoralizing. I felt I had failed. As much fun as I had, and as wonderful Julio made all of my alternative sites and walks, the simple fact remained that I.Did.Not.Do.The.Inka.Trail. Period. The weight I carried was too much. And I don’t mean the pack.
As 2014 rolled into 2015 nothing much changed. I went through the usual holiday activities and started the new year dedicated to 12 5k walks in 12 months.
They were to be place markers to measure progress between each one. As I headed off to Washington DC for work, I squeezed my May 5k in by doing a selfie stick photo walk through Georgetown and the National Mall. It was great. The business trip I was on was jam packed with walking. I was logging about 17,000 steps a day and I thought “what a way to launch myself forward!”
On June 3 we were taking meetings all over Capitol Hill. We had the Capitol, a meeting with the U.S. Supreme Court Clerk, a meeting at the Senate with Kelli Ayote, and a meeting at the DOJ with Deputy Attorney General Sally Bates. As the day wore on my left knee began to have a feeling as though it were ripping. It worsened. It held me back the remainder of the trip.
June, July, and August there would be no 5ks. As a matter of fact, an MRI revealed a tear in the meniscus. August 27th the knee was scoped and cleaned up. A lot. Left behind was a janky ACL that had been repaired in 1988 and what looked like a shag carpet of arthritis with intermittent bone on bone.
Some friends and I had already started on planning a 2017 walk on el Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I had a Spanish class under way and the walking goal was to go from Leon to Santiago de Compastela. That is 200 miles. And instead of beginning my my goal of over 100lbs. Weight loss with a “good as sorta 54 year old new” knee, I am starting knowing that at sometime between now and September 2017, I will likely need to ink in a total knee replacement. Ugh.
As I lie on my couch with the pups feeling sorry for myself, I decided to watch Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. I learned about it on the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook page. I “met” one of the co-producers there named Annie O’Neil. In watching the pilgrims struggle for their own individual reasons, I was particularly drawn to Annie’s walk. Maybe at first because I was at least familiar with her now. But seeing a normal sized person become nearly debilitated by sever knee conditions, yet for her to push through with no complaints was insuring and redemptive. I no longer felt ashamed of myself for Peru. Instead I felt my biggest failure was not in missing the trail……it was in missing the lesson.
I have a plan now. I always do, but I can only have hope and faith that this time, I can do it. That this time I can keep a promise to myself for all the right reasons.
I recently attended a conference with the Nevada Justice Association in San Francisco. One of the events you could choose to participate in was a 5k. I signed up and one of my big motivators was was that any 5k in San Francisco would have to have some big dang hills. That would be a good progress test for me leading up to the Everest Base Camp Trek in March. The race was pretty informal and we got a turn by turn hand out to keep us on the trail. So off everyone went….except me. I was apparently the only walker. But that was ok. It was a good morning and the fog was with us making it a very different 5k than I usually do.
I felt good and quickly set up my GPS to track the route. I always like to do that. As I was moving along from Union Square to the Embarcadero, I enjoyed the sights
and sounds of a city waking up. Traffic was light and there was no wind. So I snapped some pics as I went along and really was enjoying the air, moving quickly, feeling strong. So, there couldn’t be a better day. Soon I was up on the water in front of the Ferry building and looking out into the fog that socked in the Bay Bridge. On up the road I trudged, iPod accompanying each of my steps. I knew that a turn was coming up so I was paying attention to the street signs. I didn’t want to be late for breakfast, after all. But after passing the cable car turn around on Powell, I thought for sure that something had gone awry. Rather than
cut up from there, though, I just kept on my path. I began thinking about the fact that I had not yet had a single hill and was disappointed. That disappointment would not endure, however. A quick look at the GPS revealed that I, indeed, had gone astray and now I needed to map a rout back. Time was a wasting and not only was breakfast in peril, but being to the seminar on time was also iffy. By now I was on Bay Street, having turned left off the Embarcadero. My destination was not really that far. But to get there would take a trip up Hyde. To the top of Lombard Street. That is the squiggly be-flowered street so steep and famous on the post cards. That was wha an only be described as a “butt buster”. And the real weird thing about it is that I LOVED the challenge and the push. UP, UP, UP. STEEP, STEEP, STEEP! I went on past Lombard and was at the top of Nob Hill at the “Mark”. I remembered having sung there while attending Simpson College back in the
early 80’s. Itwas a warm feeling of deja vu…..until I saw that what goes up, must come down and now I had to go down the steepness of one of San Francisco’s most famous of its seven hills. No knee braces and time was a ticking! I took another look at the GPS and flew down that hill into the fog below, arriving back at the Marriott, Union Square with 10 minutes to spare. I grabbed an orange juice and headed to my room to clean up and rush back down for the Nevada Supreme Court Justice’s panel. In the end, my deviation from the route aded 1.4 miles on to the 5k, logging in 4.6 instead of 3.2 miles. It also gave me the hill I so wanted to have in this 5k. An added bonus was that the knees withstood it with little residual pain, and even that dissipated pretty quickly.