Training for the Camino has been rewarding and fun, but one big hiccup has me feeling like I’m miles away from my destination.

Shel Sweeney Hiccup

My new hiking boots!

Hiccup one

If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with Achilles tendonitis. I had hoped that this would be resolved by now, and while it is heaps better than it was, it is still a present issue. My physio tells me this can take months, years sometimes, to fully resolve. Despite this, the physio tells me, I will be Camino ready next year. I’ve had ongoing feet and ankle issues for years, so it is to be expected, apparently, that this might take years to resolve. Not to worry, I am pretty much in a routine now of getting up and doing my physio exercises before hitting the gym for my Camino training.

Hiccup two

Knee pain: I do more physio exercise when I get back from the gym (one for strengthening my knees – basically I need to activate some muscle(s) in my bum and down into my leg so that I stop overusing my knee – this is the result of a little niggly pain I’ve been getting on occasion, and of course I want to attend to this now rather than find it’s grown into a big issue on The Way.

The big hiccup

Despite the Achilles and knee issues, I have still been able to keep up the training. But…then came the biggest hiccup in my training thus far…an aggravated Achilles sheath!

Basically, the Achilles sheath goes over the Achilles tendon…and this has been much more painful and debilitating than Achilles tendonitis. Basically, I’ve been hobbling around for the past few days, not even able to walk very far. It has seen me out of the gym for 4 days in a row!

How did this happen?

I had a small mole cut from the sole of my left foot during my last skin check. As a result, I walked on the side of my foot – because the sole was so sore – and this overcompensating lead to the aggravated Achilles sheath. Well, that’s what we think happened anyway. Makes sense, and should resolve soon. In fact, it is heaps better today than it was 4 days ago.

This whole episode has raised concerns for me though. If the Achilles tendon flares up on my pilgrimage, I am confident that I have the skills and knowledge now to deal with this and would still be able to hike. The aggravated Achilles sheath, however, saw me barely able to walk for several days.

What happens if something like this happens while I am hiking?

Again, I turn to my physio for answers and he assures me that if I stop overdoing the training (Achilles like gradual increases not big leaps), then I will be fine. Plus, he tells me, there is always Cortisone injections. Yikes! I’ll just put that out of my head for now and will revisit this in the coming months if (and only if) I need to.

Rest days

If nothing else, I think this hiccup has highlighted the need to build rest days into my training and pilgrimage schedule. I will adjust my itinerary to make use of 3 to 5 rest days as recuperation days. I can’t afford to have this trip drag out forever, already I am planning 33 days of hiking, added to this is travel time there and back again – which, from Australia, is significant. To add in rest days as well, really blows my month-long trip out to something nearer 6 weeks. In theory, this is fine…in reality, I wonder about juggling my work schedule around this trip.

Work hiccup

I am a freelance writer/editor. I work for myself at A Worded Life. In theory, I should be able to schedule my work around my trip. In reality, freelancers are always wondering where their next job will come from and how they will financially survive week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year. It can be difficult for a freelancer to say no to work for fear that the work might dry up. Plus, clients most often want their projects to begin straight away, they often have tight deadlines and scheduling my workflow can be an ever-changing task that requires high levels of flexibility and a strong ability to juggle seemingly competing priorities.

In theory, I will simply not schedule any projects for a month. In reality, I will need an assistant to keep my on-going regular work flowing and to respond to queries and issues as they arise.

I have an assistant in my sights, someone I’ve worked with before. In a couple of weeks, I will begin trialing them – so, assistant-in-training is soon to be a reality and I am so looking forward to that!

New Boots

On another positive note, I bought my hiking boots (pictured above)! Read about my hiking boot research in Finding a shoe that fits.

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