The Panic is Real
Hi! I’m Bekah!
My mom and I will be starting our flip-flopping thru-hike at the beginning of April in Damascus, VA. I’ve always loved camping and hiking and have done a brief long-distance hiking trip on the Camino de Santiago in Spain (highly recommend!). The AT will be the biggest challenge that I’ve ever taken on and I can’t wait! I’m truly excited to do this with my amazing mom and am looking forward to spending months together. That is…unless I decide to injure myself too much before it starts…
It happened five weeks before the start of my thru-hike.
My main choice of exercise leading up to starting the AT has been Dance! – a cardio-dance course at my local gym. This course is a great exercise (in addition to hiking and running) for me to get into shape. It’s a whole hour every night of bouncing around, repetitive deep squats, and random movements that work my core. Doing this, I feel fantastic and have started see some pretty sexy muscle development. Bring on the AT!
That day, I was rocking it. I pushed myself to the level 3 moves and I was sweating buckets (and loving every minute of it). This, of course, made my muscles tighter than usual. Would I let that stop me? Of course not!!! Bring on the stretching! I will not let tight muscles cause me next day soreness! No way!
Then it happened.
In the middle of a stretch, I felt it. In my back.
“Oh no,” I thought, “now I’ve done it. Now I’ll be out of commission for a few weeks and there goes all of my progress.”
Luckily (unluckily?), I threw my back out a few years ago while moving furniture around my apartment, so I have a rough idea of what to do. Even with that, I still endured a night of pure panic. I was fully convinced that I had just thrown my AT dream down the drain.
The next day, I went to the doctor who fortunately informed me that I had a muscle spasm, which I could easily recover from. She prescribed me some meds and advised me to keep up the ice and heat and to take it easy for a few days – nowhere near as bad as I had dreaded it being. After about two weeks of taking it easy, I was good as new.
So! I learned my lesson: stretch long and easy, not quick and hard. While it’s important to get in shape for the AT, pushing my body beyond its current ability and flexibility is potentially a painful and panic-inducing risk.
Happy trails, Buen Camino, and safe hiking everyone!
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