My Inca Trail Journey
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Here is the story of my journey ....
I knew I needed to do something. Summer 2009 was flying by and my exercise/diet was in the doldrums.
We had already planned this vacation over winter break and it was too late to back out.
I was genuinely worried that I would not be able to finish the hike. I didn't care if I was extremely slow, I just needed to finish. There are no shortcuts or turning around on the Inca Trail. Once you begin the Trail and get at least through the first day there is no going back. If I was unable to continue we would have to pay the porters to carry me instead of our tents and cooking equipment. OMG. I could not let that happen.
Then I went to my Gyn for my annual (Aug 2009). He almost didn't let me leave the office before booking a complete physical (I did not have a family Dr since we had just moved from China the year before). My BP was 160 over 100. He was afraid I would have a stroke on the spot.
WOW! I admit that scared me a bit...(okay a lot).
I knew I didn't have much time. I started by searching online for some healthy recipes. There is also a trail around our subdivision and one time around is 1.8 miles, so I started walking a few times a week.
One website I came across in my recipe search was SparkRecipes. I signed up so I would not have to research the recipes again and I could save them on their website. One week later I received and email from SparkPeople saying I had not yet joined and invited me. My first thought was, "who is this and how did they get my email". I checked and saw that it was because of my recipe collection that they sent the email.
I checked them out. Okay, FREE was a good thing.
I liked the way they tracked both my fitness and nutrition. I thought I'd give them a try.
I was not diligent, I look back and see that I could have done a lot better.
BUT, because of Sparkpeople I did so much better than if I had tried it on my own.
I walked my trail in my neighborhood about 3x week. I varied the length, from 2x's to even 4x's around.
I noticed that when I documented what I ate I lost lbs. When I didn't the weight stayed the same. I tried to stay within the boundaries of the program and by the time I left I had lost 18lbs.
When December rolled around I knew I was much better off than I had been just 3 months before. My BP was now around 138/78 and I could go up the stairs in my house without getting winded. One of my last walks before I left for Peru was 7 miles and I could have kept going.
So, I thought/hoped I was ready. I also needed to worry about the altitude, so my son & I arrived in Lima and onto Lake Titicaca 3 days earlier than the rest of the family. I would rack up 5 days in the higher altitude before embarking on the Trail.
The altitude did not play a huge part in our hike. We all seemed to acclimate pretty well. And it helped to keep drinking all that coca tea!. Going up was not that bad, we just took it slow. Well, my husband and I took it slow, the kids were like regular mountain goats.
The difficulty, which surprised us, was going down. It was all steps made of stones. All sizes, all heights, all widths, ALL DIFFERENT! Everyday (3nites/4days) we started out 1 hour before everyone else and yet we still finished 1.5 hours AFTER everyone else.
Some evenings I could barely move. Stiff has new meaning to me now. On the last day of the long hikes (we averaged 10-11 hrs of hiking a day) I went to my tent and threw myself down on the sleeping bag and sobbed uncontrollably. It was definitely the max my body could take. All that was left was the short 3 hr hike, (down again..) the next morning to arrive at Machu Picchu. I had made it. I had finished.
Regrets. Yes, I have many. I regret not starting this sooner. I regret getting to this point to begin with.
Happiness. Yes, that too. There were approx 400 people on the trail that day. They all past me. And I only saw, maybe, 6 people older than I am.
Promise. I pledge to never return to the state I was in. I vow to be an example of good health. I hope to inspire others. I will make my family proud.
Thank you Spark for being the catalyst in my quest for a better quality of life. Thank you for giving me the tools to continue my journey.