There’s a backpacking adage about boots and shoes: a pound on the foot is like 5 on the back. You probably haven’t heard that before if you haven’t backpacked. I’d actually forgotten about it til Dr Freedhoff reminded me at my appointment last week. I was all “yay! I’m doing the Camino!” and he was all “that’s fantastic, I love backpacking, that’s a great goal!”. Hot damn, I thought. He’s not looking at me askance like most people do when I say I’m going to walk around 700kms.

Fast forward through him encouraging me to do a ridiculously hard sounding tent backpacking trip through the Alps (hello? hills? I did hills. I did the grand canyon. That was a lot of sweating and red faced action.), and he reminded me of the pound on the foot like 5 on the back issue. And he out and out stated what I’ve been trying not to think about: it sure would help if I lost the weight of the pack I’m going to carry before I hit the trail.

Did I mention that I backpacked the grand canyon? Awesome vacation! I got altitude sickness and puked all over the side of the canyon, saw a tarantula up close and personal, and experienced the joys of backpacking for the first time. And I trained my butt off for that trip. I would watch entire episodes of Buffy (the Vampire Slayer, who’s beyond awesome) on the elliptical. I climbed the only hill in the city of Ottawa (at Mooney’s Bay) over and over again while wearing a 25 pound pack. I lifted weights. I did it all, people. I literally trained myself “skinny”. Well, skinny for me. It was the first and only time in my adult life where I was healthy and weighed less than 200 pounds. (Don’t judge. I carry it pretty well.)

I lost 40 pounds before that trip, and my pack weighed 32 pounds. It was totally doable. In fact, I might have the most red verging on purple face, but… well, I rocked that trip.

Flash forward 9 years and 20 pounds. I’m not backpacking this time – I’m staying at hostels. My pack should weigh around 20 pounds, including food and water. There’s no getting around the fact that it would be a lot easier to walk that 700 kms with 20 pounds less on the foot. I’ll likely weigh less at the end of the trip than at the beginning but it’s also going to be harder at the beginning because really? Who normally walks 25km a day? No one. Not even a postie.

I’m leaving April 30th. There are 16 weeks between now and then, so that’s a little over a pound a week. I know what that means. That means bumping up my activity a bit and cutting back the fun foods. It means being very organized in my eating. It means, oh holy hannah, making all my food. It means not having toast and peanut butter three meals a day because I’m too lazy to make something or even reheat what I have in the fridge. It means making snacks instead of buying them. That’s what it means. It also means building indulgences into my life where appropriate but not every day. It means going to see the nutritionist and working on food timing and how and what to eat when I’m working out for 90 minutes at a time.

It isn’t rocket science. If I can get back to Grand Canyon weight, carrying a 20 pound pack will be no problem. (Especially if I work on stabilizing my knee and ankles, etc.) That should also put me at the right size to wear women’s rain gear, which would be nice since men’s rain gear would need to be altered for my pitifully short arms. Also, women’s rain gear would just plain be more attractive.

Anyway, suffice to say I’m focused. I got it. I’m all in.

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