I know you’re dying to know what happened after yesterday’s blog. Emotions were high. The text from both of our blogs (Mollis and mine) read like a soap opera. The short of it, we made up. As I wrote my blog and put to paper all the things going on, I realized it wasn’t worth carrying around any sort of negative emotion about the situation. We are all human and as such are not immune to the human condition.
We had a big mileage day planned for the day; just shy of 20 miles. We are entering into an area called the Meseta. Translated it means “plateau”. Some books refer to this part of the hike as death, having come from the section of life. Others say walking through this area is like walking in the sky. Huge open expanses of fields with little elevation change. Clouds just above the horizon indeed lend itself to the feeling of walking into endlessness. Visual jazz. Even with a gentle breeze blowing through the fields of wheat, a calmness filled the air.
Leaving Burgos this morning was much like any other morning. We walked through the western part of town. Suburbs. We walked through a few parks and onto a dirt road.
The weather was similar to the last several days. Chilly, with a slight breeze. It’s bizarre to be in the middle of June and witness smoking rising from chimneys. Molli made the comment this morning, “I can’t imagine what it’s like in the winter time.”
Truly summer doesn’t begin until the summer. Spring can bring all manner of weather.
Two miles into the hike today, I noticed a strange tension in my right calf. It was something I had never experienced. I took a step and thought to myself, “Hmmm that’s getting tight and sore.”
The next step, “That’s slightly worse.”
And by the third step, I felt a “pop” in my right calf and it seized up. I took two additional steps. The pain was excruciating. I was a good 50 yards from T&M. I called out to them. They walked back and I described what was going on. They had me do a few exercises on the ground, and Molli broke out her make shift massage tool. We worked with it for a few minutes.
Without a doubt my muscles have been sore, but hearing the pop lead me to believe there was something seriously wrong. Once I stood, I was able to walk on it, albeit it exceedingly sore. Within a few minutes, I was able to establish a consistent pace.
T&M fell in behind me so I could set the pace. I chatted with Tony for a few minutes, and then set about walking. I knew the next town was about a mile and half; at which time I would reevaluate.
In thinking over the last week, I knew my right side had been slightly more fatigued than my left side. My right side had been working harder as a result of the correction of my posture. For quite some time, my left side had carried more than it’s share of the burden. My right side was now doing an equal amount of work on less developed musculature.
Secondly, I had been overlooking minute warning signs of an impending issue. Small muscle spasm here, ever so slight cramp there. I was running a potassium deficit. Over the next mile of hiking, I realized, I had a large muscle cramp in my calf. The solution was simple, but could I make it the next mile to fix it.
About a half mile from town, Tony and I struck up a conversation. I explained to him what I thought was going on. I told him, I was going to take after him and start eating a lot of bananas. He laughed. It’s nothing for Tony to eat 10 bananas a day. They are a great source of energy and very nutrient dense. Frankly, the only nutrient they have in large supply I had any interest in is potassium.
We arrived in the next town, and I ate my normal breakfast, with the addition of two bananas. Having satiated our appetites we hit the road once again. Within 15 minutes, the pain in my calf had completely disappeared. Success! I will be adding at least two bananas to my daily food intake. Crisis averted.
We hiked for several more miles without issue. We entered the Meseta and started making really good time. The miles passed effortlessly. 13 miles into our hike, we came to the last small town before our destination for the night. Molli wanted to stop for a moment. I took the opportunity to have two more bananas and a Nestea. Ice tea is non-existent in Europe and it is a daily staple for me. I have taken to drinking Nestea here and there as a substitute. A poor calorie laden substitute, but it has the vague resemblance of the ice tea flavor and I can afford the calories. I can’t wait to land in the states so I can have a real glass of ice tea. Of all the things to miss.
After our last stop, I seemed to get in a groove. Tony would later say, I had my afterburners on. Without intention, I put a half mile distance between the three of us in little time. I have noted purity of thought in previous blog posts. Today followed suit, and then some. Walking was effortless, the scenery as I said earlier, visual jazz. I pondered the present and the future. What’s to come?
In what seemed to be a blink of an eye, I was on the outskirts of our destination. I slowed my pace to a crawl and then a stop. I waited for T&M so we could enter town together. I waited. And waited. I knew I had pulled ahead of them, but had no idea I was “that” far ahead. After 20 minutes, I sent them a text and started back tracking the trail. Perhaps something had gone wrong. Within 5 minutes they caught up. They had stopped at a tiny one building outpost, I had missed. It sounded like a true oasis.
I’m glad they had their experience, as I had mine. In recent years, it is exceedingly rare I feel such peace. The Camino has once again lived up to its proclaim. I am humbled.