We took a zero day last week in Franklin so we could have our shoes and feet analyzed by the guys at Outdoor 76. They have a sort of mythical reputation as shoe geniuses, and they did not disappoint. We walked in after breakfast, around 10:30, and they proceeded to educate us until 5:00. When I hinted at possibly passing out because of no lunch, they have me two bananas and a dark beer and pressed on. I know a LOT more about feet now.
Eric and I both got new shoes. He was in heavy duty work boots from his job in Oregon and having knee pain. I was in minimalist shoes and having arch pain. They have Eric some slimmer shoes and me some beefier ones. But the biggest lesson we learned in Franklin was this:
Go irrationally slow.
With all the information and support surrounding the AT, the attrition rate really shouldn’t be what it is. Everyone quotes you a different stat, but only about one in four or five who start will complete. Many of those who leave, we were told, are young and in shape. They just push it too hard too soon. Many of those who complete are older and slower but know their bodies better.
So, said the shoe geniuses, go irrationally slow. And we are taking their advice. I have to keep reminding myself that what we are doing is not natural and I’m not prepared for it. I may have been able to do fifteen miles easily in a weekend trip, but I can’t (yet) do it day after day.
Also! We finally have trail names. Eric is now Learnin’, because, as he keeps saying, he’s learning a lot out here. And I’m Roots, for many reasons: I eat a lot of root veggies, listen to a lot of roots reggae, trip on lots of roots, and very much look forward to putting some down somewhere soon.