ABOUT THOSE SHOES… MISTAKE #2

Remember those boots that I thought were very comfortable for the Camino? Well it turns out I was wrong. Maybe not “wrong” exactly, just mistaken. When I bought those boots my main values were good ankle support and waterproofing so my feet would stay dry. And those boots fulfilled my needs perfectly.

However I began to notice that when I went for a walk I was more inclined to grab my sneakers than my boots. I told myself it was just easier to slip on my sneakers instead of pulling on the tall hiking boots. I told myself that it was OK because I was still happy with the support, waterproofing, and comfort they provided. But I started to think I wasn’t being fully honest with myself. Truth be told my boots were all those things that I valued, but I realized that I also value shoes that aren’t so heavy.

Once again I have to thank REI. They took my boots back and spent a great deal of time helping me try out trail runners. I settled on these Salomon X-Mission 3 Trail-Running shoes.

I bought a half size larger than my normal size. I also spent several minutes on the little fake hill at REI with my toes in a downward position to see if my toes would slide to the toe of the shoe. Plenty of room. They are very comfortable and while I had a little rubbing around my janky ankle (say that 3 times fast) that went away quickly. I haven’t really worn them in the rain but I have washed them and they definitely dried overnight. Bonus: I found a color I really like in the outlet store so they were a little cheaper. Downside: Fitness trainers have always told me that my shoes need to be replaced every 300-500 miles. I have currently walked over 150 miles and there is some small noticeable wear on the soles. Of course, keep in mind that I am walking mostly on concrete sidewalks and asphalt. Click here to see the REI page for these shoes.

I MADE A MISTAKE…

Walking and carrying your entire worldly belongings on your back is incredibly daunting. Every item must be exactly what you need, it should be as lightweight as possible, and it should be high performing. Plus, I want it to look good too. I’ll probably tell you more about my choices but for now I want to talk about my waterproof jacket.

Last spring Glen had a conference in Paris and I wondered into an Eddie Bauer store looking for anything but a raincoat. The first sales clerk who saw me asked if I had seen their new line of raincoats. Hey I didn’t know what I was looking for, why not look at raincoats?

I tried on this little black trench coat and found it to be amazingly light and it looked really good on. It would look good with jeans or a dress. So I bought it and I absolutely love it.

For the Camino I knew I would need a rain jacket. It needed to be absolutely waterproof and wind resistant. After much searching I settled on an amazing electric blue rain jacket. Enter credit card info and addresss, press “place order” and my new jacket was on its way.

When I first tried it on my arms slid into the sleeves and the jacket was roomy enough for a couple of light layers. Ahhhhhhh and such a pretty color 😊. I wore my new jacket a lot. It was great in the rain; it kept me very dry. It also stopped the wind from getting through. It was also a veritable sauna. I was dry from the outside elements but I was drowning in my own sweat. Even the pockets were waterproof. One day in the rain I realized I forgot my gloves so I just put my hands in my pockets to keep warm. Pretty soon I noticed that puddles were forming in my pockets. Not good.

My enthusiasm for my gorgeous blue jacket waned. I really disliked putting it on. Every time I looked at my rain jacket it seemed like it was mocking me.

Thank goodness REI lets you return items, no questions asked, up to a year after the purchase. So I took it back. And guess what? A few weeks later I was in an Eddie Bauer store and they had these great little rain jackets made with their water shedding technology, pit zips and ventilated pockets. This jacket even weighs a few ounces less than my other jacket and it was cheaper. I’ve worn it in the rain several times and it does what it promises. The color isn’t so exciting, but hey, dry and comfortable beat color any day.

HEALTH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CAMINO ARE KILLING ME

What if my husband and I get separated on the Camino and I get hurt and I’m unconscious???

Should I have some kind of ID to alert caregivers to any medical conditions I may have, medications I am taking, and emergency numbers?

Oh crap! Emergency numbers…if it’s the middle of the night my oldest will say, “I was asleep! Don’t call me in the middle of the night! I have children!” click

The middle one will say, “Huh? Who? Uhhhh….” click

The youngest will say, “Hello? Yes? How serious is it? I’m in charge. I have the passwords and the account numbers. I know how to access the money. Thank you.” click

I sent the above entry to my oldest for editing and this is her response…

First of all, your youngest doesn’t know how to pay her own bills, let alone access your money. And I won’t answer the phone and complain they woke me up, I will just sleep through it. You are way over thinking this. Yes, you should have some kind of emergency action plan, such as a list of emergency numbers and their relationship to you. And having a medication list is a good idea too, but you will be in a foreign country and those medications may be different/unknown to your medical person.

Include Daddy’s phone number on your list and know that you are not the first person to travel abroad, be injured, and be separated from the person you came with. After all, it wouldn’t be that different if you went for a bike ride with Daddy, got hit by a car, and separated from him. The police and medical personnel have policies and procedures in place already to handle these situations.

I can only speculate that my youngest would respond, “I do so know how to pay my own bills. I’m a grown ass woman!”

And the middle one would say, “What are you talking about?”

Please God, protect me from physical injury on the Camino. Amen

DOING & BEING

I am currently sitting in a retreat house at the 7th session of the Two Year Academy for Spiritual Formation. My inspiration to go on the Camino happened in the 4th session. This morning our presenter talked to us about the difference between a contract and a covenant.

A contract specifies what each person will do to fulfill the contract. You fix my plumbing and I will pay you X number of dollars.

A covenant is about who (and I’m only going to speak of myself here) I will be to the others who are part of the covenant.

I know that I am going on the Camino because I want God to shape me into who God sees my potential to be. Like a sculptor who stands before a block of marble and sees only the pieces that need to be removed in order for the art to emerge.

I know that God has been shaping me since I first became aware of God. And as a good United Methodist, or rather a strong follower of John Wesley, I believe that God’s prevenient grace has been at work in me even before that time.

I’ve been so caught up in what I’m going to do

…to prepare for the Camino,

…to pack for the Camino,

…to buy for the Camino,

that I didn’t think about who I will be.

Who will I be? I’m sure the Camino will change me.

MY MORNING ROUTINE ON THE CAMINO

Today I’m thinking about what my morning routine will be. My husband and I want to arise (time to be determined) and go. I’m pushing for a coffee and something to eat even if it’s small. Mr. I-don’t-eat-breakfast can complain all he wants but I want my morning coffee.  

My husband is a solid J on the Myers Briggs scale. He’s the man with a plan.  I, however, am a borderline P/J. What this means is that I like to have a plan and I’m happy to throw it out the window.  This drives my husband crazy. So today I’ve been thinking about what my morning routine will be to get up and moving.  Here it is…

Morning Routine on the Camino

  • Wake up
  • Put my watch on
  • Put retainer in to clean (dental bag must be in the bathroom)*
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash my face, moisturize, & put on sunscreen
  • Repack my toiletry bag
  • Dress
  • Retrieve electronics (phone, batteries, and earbuds) and charger (plug and cables). Keep electronics bag by the outlet.
  • Pack backpack
  • Fill water bottle
  • Coffee and breakfast

Does this seem a little maniacal? Or am I just tapping into my inner J? I don’t know, but today this seems like the thing to be thinking about.

*I’m a bit of a fanatic about my teeth. Like most teenagers I had braces but didn’t really take care of my teeth so they went back to being crooked and they bothered me a lot. Five years ago I got braces again, and now I have a great smile and my teeth fit together very well. Always wear your retainer.

Note: A few months ago as I went to my last session of the Two Year Academy for Spiritual Formation I forgot to pack my retainer and my meds. Medication was replaced quickly at the drugstore across the street, but for a week I had no retainers. So…I bought a second retainer just for travel 😁

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SHOES 👠

I have a pair of hiking boots. I bought them years ago because we always went to a state park for a few days at New Year’s Eve and hiking was part of the fun.  Actually those “hikes” were more like a walk. Our girls were young so a 10 mile hike was out of the question (as if I would ever ask that question) and my boots were just fine for what we were doing. As I started my training (a 1-2 mile walk with the dog is training isn’t it) I discovered that my boots weren’t all that comfortable on a daily basis.  So my husband suggested a trip to the REI store.  This was before we had fully committed to the Camino.  So in my mind we were going to a store we didn’t need to go to, to shop for things we weren’t going to buy, for a trip we weren’t taking.

In shopping for boots the big problem I ran into is my feet and considering we are planning a 500 mile walk this is not a good place to start with a problem.  Several years ago I broke my right ankle in three places.  The circumstances of the break involved my dad’s attic and a pile of aluminum pie pans (about 50 of them that I was reaching for, don’t ask why those pans were so important) and I fell through the ceiling on to the concrete floor of the garage.

Since my ankle is a bit janky (I’m sure that’s a medical term) I wanted the good ankle support that a high top boot would give and at the same time since my ankle bone is misshapen and sticks out a bit I liked the low profile of a hiking shoe that wouldn’t rub against the bone.

The people there were very helpful. I had a young man helping me but another young man and woman in the department took an interest and made several suggestions. Despite my leaning toward a hiking shoe they found me a boot with lots of ankle padding.  I ended up purchasing a pair of waterproof hiking boots with great support and a pair of trekking poles.

So much for shopping for things I wasn’t going to buy.