Our latest backpacking trip to Shenandoah National Park left me with the following: aching calves and quads, six bug bites, several scratches and one eye infection (hint: if a bug flies in your eye and you blink on it, resist the urge to swipe at your eye with your grimy, unwashed backpacking hand!).
Good thing I also left with four bear sightings, several deer sightings, and memories of a moonrise, a sunrise and sunset at the highest point in the park and a jump from a 12-foot cliff into a natural swimming hole.
I’m still sore after carrying what I’m estimating was a roughly 50-pound pack (more like 30 by the last day, thanks to me being the designated food-carrier), and I didn’t get in a single run over the weekend. But I have faith that hiking between four and six miles a day with a big ol’ pack up steep, rocky grades did as much to prep my lungs, legs and joints for the stress of a marathon than actual running could have.
If not … well, there’s always my tempo run tonight and my 17-miler on Thursday!