I just read an article / blog post with ten tips for long hikes. It made me dream.
I’ve always wanted to do a long hike. One of those that take a few days and you carry a tent or hike from hut to hut. Why have I not done it yet? My fitness.
I used to be a very lazy child. Never loved sports and PE at school was my most dreaded time of the week. The only thing I ever enjoyed was swimming, but I had to give it up because I didn’t have enough time. I was busy playing theatre, learning music, and being a creative dork.
Whenever my parents took me on a holiday, I suffered. You see, they love walking. And I, I was that annoying child asking “are we there yet” before we even took off properly. I often just sat down and refused to keep walking. My poor parents. I don’t know how they always managed to get me home safely.
But then we went on this awesome holiday to South Africa. The views were so spectacular but I was puffing and panting and everyone was feeling sorry for me, I guess me most of all. But I also started to realise the things I was missing out on by staying home rather than struggling my way through the hike.
I finally changed my ways about four years ago. I was an au pair in Ireland and I had a lot of free time. And in that free time, I really wanted to get out of the house that was both my home and my work, with both my family and my bosses. My favourite place: the cliffs. Just that little bit too far away to walk. So I started running.
I started running.
I used this Flemish podcast called Start To Run. It’s a lady who tells you when to run and when to walk with music that fits a good running tempo, and it builds you up from running one minute, walking three, running another minute, to running twenty minutes non-stop. I went every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. By the time I left Ireland, I ran about 45 minutes 3 times a week.
The most fun part: my parents came to visit me half way through my stay and were well surprised. First of all: when they asked me what I wanted to do when they came over, I said I wanted to roadtrip and walk. Secondly, when they actually did come over and we did hike (we did some parts of the ring of Kerry, hiked on Valencia Island, over the Burren, along the Cliffs of Moher,..), they were surprised by how much my fitness had improved. I was well proud of myself and that holiday is still up there with some of the best ones ever. (Also thanks to Ireland of course, the most surprising country I have ever been to for sure.)
But for you fellow hikers out there, you know it is addictive and you want more and longer and further and more impressive. So I’ve been wanting to do a several-day-hike for a while now. Maybe first try a three-day one. Then move up to ten-day ones. One day maybe even a month. A crazy adventure.
Sadly I’ve been slacking with the running and the gym. I work out only once a week with a friend, kickboxing style. (It’s not really kickboxing. It’s more like a group class where you work out by punching a bag. Great way to get rid of any work frustrations.) I want to get back into it. I’ve read so much about hiking and heard so many awesome stories. Like that Australian storie Tracks or the movie about the Pacific Coast Trail, Wild. I feel like I know perfectly well how to prepare and organise and go about it. But will I ever really go through with it?
Tonight I’m going for a run. For real. When I get home from work: straight into the running shoes. I really hope I do.