Last month was busy. My Camino del Norte Training Plan was derailed.
My intentions were good when I devised my plan. I knew from past experience that I didn’t want to wait until the month before I planned to leave to begin training for my next Camino. I wanted to begin a slow and steady increase in miles, time and weight so that I would be strong, consistent and confident to walk without much trepidation. If I had a year to make long backpacking walks a habit, I knew I would be just fine. So, I created a plan.
The Camino del Norte Training Plan was developed to begin last month—a year from my intended Camino del Norte start date. Walking regularly and incrementally longer would give Sally-the-dog, her exercise and would give me the increases I knew I needed. The plan was to walk Sally for her three miles and then walk by myself for increasingly more miles. It all seemed manageable enough.
My initial roadblock was getting over the notion of doing a short walk, then walking home, dropping Sally off, and heading out again. I dislike stopping and starting as much as I dislike out and back walks. But I found I could reframe the stop as a café con leche break—like one I might have on the Camino–and I actually did that a couple of times. It seemed to work.
The plan worked for about a week, maybe two. Then the second roadblock happened: the weather got hotter. My morning routine includes about two hours of ritual work: Meditation, yoga, journaling, answering emails, perusing the news. My normal wake time is 6:00 am. That means I finally get breakfast and dressed around 8. If I left the house at 8:30, with the heat the way is was (and is destined to become again) there is no way that Sally could do her three miles, nor that I could do my additional ones afterwards. It was just too hot.
The third roadblock, juggling, was the final straw. My schedule got really busy. There was the impending high school graduation of my grandson and its requisite changes in school pick up times and days. There was in increase in medical appointments for my mom, who, although she is quite fit, at 87 years young her doctors like to err on the side of caution and order every test imaginable for every small anomaly. Not that I am not grateful for their diligence—I am.
Because the Training Plan was not yet part of my routine, it slid off my radar. Yes, it was a plan, a possibility, a desire, and a need, but it was not a done deal. I had not consciously made it a priority and this is what happened: I just stopped walking.
Sally and I just stopped walking—for a couple of weeks. And I was off transporting Grandson and Mother to and from school, work, and appointments. I thought about the Training Plan periodically, feeling a pang of guilt or justification, but I could not imagine how to resolve the conflict. I couldn’t figure out how to juggle all of the important things I had in my life and add yet another.
I write so I can think. As this is written the obvious solution is forming. During the summer, I just have to get up earlier. It’s a simple solution—maybe not easy to begin but do-able. I think, if I can get out of the house with Sally by 6:30 am, I can get all the miles in that I need this summer. In the fall, and as the weather cools and the days start later, I can re-adjust.
Tomorrow, my goal is to rise at 4:30 am and do my meditation, yoga, journaling, emailing, and perusing. Then eat and dress and leash up Sally to begin the walk. After three miles, I will get home and have a delicious cup of café con leche, just like on the Camino. And then I will be off again, by myself, adding distance, time and weight, one walk at a time.