As a former triathlete, John had the background to understand athletic training. I’m new to the game, having done little since high school. Seeing our hike as a study in athletic training is a new perspective for me, but it fits.
Working our muscles for 8-10 hours a day means a lot of wearing down. Caloric intake must increase. Zero days – the days we hike no trail miles – help build us back up.
We’ve met a lot of hikers who are speeding north and take no zeroes. I wonder: how do they recuperate? Certainly not while sleeping. Muscle twinges nudge me awake at night, even with a dose of Vitamin I – aka ibruprofen – to take off the edge.
Our calf muscles are thickening and other leg muscles becoming obvious. John’s triceps are growing thanks to how he uses his hiking poles for propulsion. It’s fascinating to watch and feel these body changes, along with weight loss, accelerating. For the first time in my life, I feel like an athlete.