Not training for the PCT

This trail is not meant for me

My whole life I’ve been very mediocre to bad at most athletic things. Maybe it came from being a very chubby, but very happy, kid or just from a lack of interest. Either way, I’ve never played any team sports, ran more than three miles in a row, or had the discipline to have a consistent workout schedule. That’s one of the reasons the idea of hiking the PCT scared me. I kept seeing all these ultramarathon and trail runner people who’d bicycled across Europe or climbed Kilimanjaro. And I thought a trail like this is not meant for me. It’s meant for the athletes, the winners, and the people who got chosen first in sports. I was never one of those people, and I’m still not. 

“A trail like this is not meant for me.” (Libano, Colombia)

My party trick

As a painfully average person, sometimes the subject of party tricks can be stressful. (Yes, party tricks, because I’m in my 20s, and apparently those things are very crucial to have). We discussed the topic in a volunteering place here in the south of Colombia. Some people could do the worm, others wiggle their ears, or some just chug a beer in seconds. I could do none of these things.

But one thing I’m pretty good at is walking. Walking far for a long period of time. Pretty shitty party trick, to be honest. And a pretty hard one to prove, but still my only one. We joked about it for a while, but it stuck with me. That yes, I’m pretty bad at most things in life, but walking was never one of them. Not walking particularly fast, or even close to any really impressive distance, but walking with joy. The joy of losing the sense of time and space in the action of putting one foot in front of the other. Take that, athletes. 

The day of the party trick. (Acacias, Colombia)

I’m not training for the PCT

One could think that the daunting idea of hiking across a country would spur some kind of workout motivation. Or at least some kind of pressure into doing lunges in the gym by the fear of failing. That would probably be the case if I were still in Sweden and not living out of my backpack in South America. Or not; maybe I’m just using that as an excuse for my laziness and my way too idealistic mindset. Either way, I’m not training for the PCT. At least not in any way that I should. Because life is about sacrifices and doing things that make you feel alive.

And for me, right now, that is working on a farm in the mountains of Colombia. Even though that means sacrificing access to a gym, overall stability, and a monthly salary. I have no doubt that the beginning will be tough, but I’m going to be in no rush, and I’m sure the body will slowly adapt. I also believe that all the things I learned by leaving the comfort of my home in Sweden (not to mention the amount of English practice I’ve had) are truly, truly priceless. And no gym in the world could beat that. 

So, hopefully in April, I will start walking. Start my party trick. And with some luck and hard work, finish it five months later. Out of shape, but full of other things instead. 

Me doing things that makes me feel alive. (Libano, Colombia)


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Comments 4

  • Björn Dziambor : Jan 11th

    Hey Sara, again a beautiful post!

    Greetings from one of the guys who got chosen last in school.

    • Sara Falck : Jan 14th

      Thank you so much Björn! Glad to hear from one more 🙂

  • Crossword : Feb 10th

    Your opening reminded me of what Heather Anish said in her book about setting the record for the PCT! I recommend you read it if you get a chance. I look forward to reading your updates.


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