Today is Monday, and on Friday I am flying out to meet my friend B who is currently walking from her front door in Germany, through France and Spain to Santiago and Finisterre. I am only catching up to her in Cologne and walking with her for a week, but she has been on the road for a few weeks already so I need/hope to be in shape by the time I get there.
Basically I have two issues I need to solve before I go:
Day 3, also known as Pain Day (or for skiers Skiing Wednesday, apparently) is when the daily walking hits you and all muscles and tendons seem to seize up and everything aches. Around midday on Day 3 I imagine there is an emergency meeting called; the body summons the brain to tell it – sternly – that its union members are willing to keep this malarkey up if, and only if, the brain provides the body with more water, regular breaks, more protein, and finds accommodation with a lift. I also imagine the brain gets one week to sort it out, which explains why I normally feel so good and trail fit by Day 10. If the body is happy with the new provisions, the brain is welcome to sit like a first class passenger on the top deck and just enjoy the ride. Or maybe a figurehead?
There is also the pressure blister issue. I have been told it is a ‘weight and gait’ thing; no matter how many long walks I walk, what shoes or socks I wear or how much vaseline or paper tape I apply, I will get pressure blisters – deeper than regular thin-skinned friction blisters – on the inside rim of the heel on the left and then invariably also the right foot. Because they are deep, I can feel the pressure with every step and they sometimes fill with blood (eww) and need drastic action – I cut a small hole with curved nail scissors to drain them properly, taking care to keep the skin, scissors and cut clean, and let them dry out. I am no fan of the needle-and-thread method, which can lead and keep bacteria into the blister and let it fill up again, and I don’t like Compeed either, so this works for me. Then after a few days it’ll be fine again and I can carry on for as long as I like. I just have to get through the first week of daily walks to bring them on, sort them out and let them heal. I have now done three walks, got my blisters, cut them last night and they seem to be drying fine.
I also have to get to grips with the dual walk jitters – a few weeks after I come home, I am leaving again for France, where I will meet my friend N in St Jean. We met on the way up to O Cebreiro in 2019 and have stayed in touch, and since she started in León back then, we decided to walk to León to finish her Francés. But there are things I have to pack for Spain that don’t need to go to Germany etc, and I need to get on top of both packing lists and put all the other stuff away so I don’t start swapping or worse, adding, now that I have some spare space in the new pack. I am sure it will all fall into place and soon as I go, if anything is missing or surplus to requirements I will have to deal with it then.
For now, I am off on another walk on my holey heels to prepare for the Holy Year!