I’m 21 days in with 11 to go. I’ve climbed and descended a 4100 foot mountain in the rain and cold, walked across a long plateau in the heat, traversed 4 large cities, walked through forests and along busy highways. Through it all I’ve felt strong and capable.
Today I hit a wall! Smack! Last night I discovered a large blister under a callous on my right heal. I did my best to drain it and patch it up but blisters under callouses are really hard to treat. I’m not sure if it was the sudden attention on my feet or that my feet have simply had enough but during today’s walk my feet started screaming out in unison. Next, it was the pad on my left foot, then it was the pinky toe on my right foot, then the muscles and tendons decided to have their say. With two miles to go, my normal gait slowed to a hobble.
They say the Camino provides. This has proved out true for myself and so many others along the way. Two days ago, Scott reserved a room at a nice hotel here in Astorga because he had an important business call that required strong wifi and a quiet place to work. I had told him I would likely stay in the albergue so I could stay focused on the Camino. I was quite adamant in my mind! Funny how things change. At this moment, I’m snuggled under a warm, fuzzy blanket in a bed that allows you to raise your feet up. My head is on a big, fluffy pillow. Analgesic cream is slathered all over my legs and Ibuprofen is pumping through my blood. I’m listening to my dear husband’s soothing voice on his call. I’m very cozy and happy right now and I may not move for the rest of the night!
I have a decision to make though. Most people take rest days. I chose not to. So, tomorrow I either send my bag and have a very slow walk day or I simply take a bus to the next destination and let my body heal. The thing is, we have 5 very demanding days up next. Each day is either an 18-19 mile day or has steep ascents and descents. Day after tomorrow, we pass Cruz de Ferro. No way am I missing that!! I also don’t want to miss the climb up to O’ Cebreiro. So, I’ll just lay here under my cozy blanket and figure out what tomorrow looks like for me.
The goal here is to get to Santiago. Everyone has their own Camino and we’ll see what mine ends up looking like. If I decide to take a bus, I’ll have no shame. It simply doesn’t matter. I didn’t come with this thought though. I came determined to walk every step carrying my backpack. In my idealistic and inexperienced expectation, it would be shameful to allow myself to do anything less. What I’ve come to know is that expectation is a harsh master. It tells you that you’ll never be good enough. That if you don’t make the mark, you’ve lost. Our good friend, Paul Young says, “Expectation is disappointment waiting to happen.”
I’ll keep you posted as the story develops. Right now, my feet are the authors.