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Just over a week to go until I am on trail! Hard to believe. So, a little catch up on what has been going on: Training: I had been adding in more vertical to my training hikes, including a popular local location with a steep ascent on my Saturday hikes. It was tougher than I expected but still got stronger and learned a lot about scheduling my hydration, electrolytes, and nutrition throughout the day. Scheduling eating surprises me. I am definitely hungry after a hike but don’t seem to feel hungry very much when moving. But if I don’t force myself to snack periodically I will definitely ‘bonk’, which is not fun. And it definitely helps to get some quick carbs in you ahead of a more difficult climb. It was productive training until about a week-and-a-half ago, when I felt some pain in my left knee during a steep descent. Scared I might injure myself, I ended that day early and did very little training with a pack nor much vertical/hilly training until today. During that time I did some basic leg exercises and very limited mileage. It seems to have helped. I have also decided to add a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to my diet to help. More weight to carry, but hopefully worth it. The good news is that 7.5 miles with a full pack and some short hills felt good today. Job: Officially unemployed today. It is weird because I have been blessed with a job since 6th grade (old fashioned paper route). A requested leave-of-absence did not work out but I also have a tentative job offer with a different company upon my return this fall. Whew...... Planning: Focusing on my first food carry and putting together several resupply boxes to send to myself. Two of the early stops in New Mexico do not have somewhere to do a full food resupply, and they are back-to-back. The first is a place called Doc Campbell’s, a small store at a campground and hot springs along the Gila River. Though they are very hiker friendly and are even expanding their food selection this year just for hikers, I plan on sending a majority of the food needed for the next segment and use their store to ‘fill out’ what I need. And the next leg is a long one, about 120 miles to Pie Town. Pie Town doesn’t have much of a store, though they have a great little cafe that specializes in, you guessed it, pie. But this little place does have a hostel for hikers and bikers where a package can be sent. I may need to have new shoes by Pie Town as well.
Finally, I am both excited and nervous! A thousand little details keep going through my head, but I also just want to get going. Thank you for all the excitement, support, and offer of prayers from coworkers, family, and friends. Not much longer now!