After a thirty-seven year teaching career, I walked out of the classroom for good in May, 2012. I’ve been officially retired now for over five years. At 66, amazingly, I still feel young. At least young enough for an occasional adventure. And that’s how I’m viewing my upcoming trip to Spain—-as another adventure. I hope to find spiritual relevance along the way, but for now I’m focusing more on the physical journey than I am the internal experience.
During those years as an educator, I’ve also been a dedicated runner, logging over 59,000 miles in a journal that I’ve kept since 1980. For the past three years, some things have changed. After a series of minor injuries, I’ve been more of a sporadic runner than a dedicated one. Still, for the past few months I’ve been maintaining about 20 miles a week. I walk almost every day as well. Fortunately, I’ve been able to stay in reasonably good shape, especially for my age.
To get ready for the Camino I’ve determined that all I really need to do is spend a little more time walking. I’ve decided to continue running three or four days a week, usually 4-6 miles every other day. I’ll also hike occasionally and walk before and after each run. By the time I leave for Spain, I plan to have walked at least two back-to-back days of around 15 miles. That should prepare me well.
This past Monday I walked a little over 11 miles, and yesterday I hiked a 7.8 mile loop on the Pine Mountain Trail with my good friend Alton. Along the way my buddy shared some of his Camino experience and answered several of my questions. I appreciated his insight.
Later in the afternoon I joined my other Camino-experienced friend, John, for lunch. Like Alton, John was happy to answer questions and provide what should prove to be some valuable information. It was interesting to see different perspectives on a couple of issues from two men who had both walked the trail last spring.
Today I’ll run, walk, read, write, and wait. I wouldn’t say that I’m anxious, but I am definitely in an anticipatory state. With only a little over a month remaining until my departure, I expect the time to pass quickly. The Camino de Santiago is just over the horizon.