I have a plan. I’m sticking to the plan. I’m sticking to the plan, dammit.

I went to the gym last night, did some body weight exercises (no extra weights needed for wall sits and lunges and fun things like pushups), walked on the treadmill for an hour, and then did some stretching. All good. I ate exactly on schedule and what I needed two days in a row. All good. I even went to the massage therapist to get my creakiness looked at (a legacy of playing way too much squash lately).

Here’s my major victory, which to most people will probably think of as relatively small. Today at the massage therapist, she said that my hamstrings and my IT bands felt in great shape. No creakiness, no groans, no feeling like she’s stabbing me with a hot poker. I have to say that this is awesome news. It’s a bit of a miracle, and I’m totally attributing it to the foam roller, which I kindly think of as the home torture device. Solid IT bands are critical for stable knees. I like stable knees, especially when I’m carrying a backpack the distance of mroe than a half marathon every day for 32 days. I’m just sayin’.

I do have some structural work to do on my quads and my butt. Not so much in strengthening them, but in keeping them limber. I also need to keep working on ankle strengthening on a balance board. I did that yesterday and it sucked pretty hard. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a bit scary, bouncing all over. Basically, if I can maintain stamina and do a touch more strengthening here and a bit more stretching there, my Camino should be of average intensity. YAY!

I’m totally on track, people. I can do this.

And yet, there’s that part of me in the back of the brain (not too far back, cause that would be too easy) that wonders why I’m not an athlete. I work out a lot. I’m strong. But I’m not an athlete. In my head, I know that even after having hiked 700km, I’m still not going to be an athlete. Why not? Because anyone with the mental strength and strong joints can do this hike. People in their 70s regularly do this hike… like, annually. It isn’t hard – it’s just long, and meditative.

Then I read stories about people like this woman, who had a baby in September 2010 and was back at the international elite level of running in January 2011. Um, yeah.

And then there’s this video:

This video is apparently controversial because it’s too sexy. Whatever. LOOK AT WHAT SHE’S DOING!!! I watched that video and realized that I don’t even do a downward dog correctly. I am so unbelievably jealous of what she’s able to do.

Because I have a best friend, I emailed her about this. Because she’s my best friend, she sent me an email smack upside the head which read as follows:

Dude, how do you even find about these crazy people?

You are SO not a sloth.  You’re playing squash, doing weights, etc.  You are an athlete too.  Don’t beat yourself up.  This woman runs for a LIVING.  It’s her JOB.  She went back so soon because that is her life.

Intellectually, I know she’s right. But sometimes there’s a big difference between what you know and what you feel. I feel like I have two choices: stop reading about super fit people, or change the way I think about my own level of activity.

I choose the latter. I’m not quite sure how to do it, but I’m going to do some research. Have you ever had to change the way you think about what you do? What were some of the things you told yourself?