So…About Last Time
In July, 2018 I attempted the Colorado Trail. And failed miserably. Well, to be more accurate, my feet failed miserably about 100 miles in. I only have one short short video of that awful moment, but the after effects lasted for weeks. I seriously wondered if I was going to be able to walk when I returned to school in the fall.
When I first decided to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2005, I slid my feet into a cute pair of flip flops and took myself off 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 is actually what he said, that he wanted to throw them out the window. When I’m sitting a have great feet. Beautiful arches. When I stand they totally disappear and my knees knock together. In fancy terms, I pronate.
I’ve generally had custom insoles since that day at the foot clinic. And problems with my feet. My trail name is Bubble Toes after all. I WAS named after the Jack Johnson song, but it was inspired by the tiny blisters all across the tips of my toes. I lost all of my toe nails on my AT thru hike. The pinky ones maybe even twice. And in case you’ve never lost your big toe nail, I want you to know it takes forever to grow back. It did mean however that I didn’t have to worry about nail clippers for the last 5 months of my trip.
Things weren’t great at the start of the hike in 2018. I was the heaviest I had ever been (thank you first year teaching) and drinking to manage my stress of teaching and finishing the tiny house. Not an even remotely great way to handle your stress, because then it become your source of stress. I put off getting updated custom insoles and shoes until it was too late and we were leaving. Those choices all cost me about 400 miles.
The lack of correct 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 about 100 miles in, and what were minor twinges in the morning became crippling pains by the finish. After resting and icing every 30 minutes for a week, the podiatrist told me I couldn’t really do any further damage, so I got back on trail.
I could push past the pain, but couldn’t manage more than 12 miles a day. We were about to head into the most remote section yet, and I didn’t think it was safe to put us in that situation. Also, I had peed on myself the night before we got to town because I couldn’t stand 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 staring at the trail into the Presidential Range.
This Time Around
I’d like to say I have awesome perfectly broken in insoles to start this CT attempt. I don’t, but I actually try this time. My Monday nights are filled with great group of supportive women who I can lean on and have taught me other ways to handle my stress than drinking. For me, living an alcohol free life has made me healthier and happier. Most days 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 an extra 25 pounds.
I’m trying to take less gear weight (hello Duplex and good bye my beloved Copper Spur) and resupply more often. Even though it goes against my innate need to make miles, I have planned for 13 miles or less for the first 10 days of the trip. I’m not exactly sure yet how I’ll keep myself occupied since I’m not bring anything extra and I’m not very good at ‘just relaxing’. More time spent rolling out my feet with my cork massage ball? Writing extra long blog posts?
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