Fat Girl Hikes the Inca Trail

I'm not the type of girl to agonize about my weight or the way I look. Most days I forget that I am overweight. One of my mantras has always been, "As long as my weight doesn't keep me from living my life the way I want to, then I'm happy." I'm happy to report that it hasn't. I am in a beautiful loving relationship with the man of my dreams, I have a great job, lots of friends, and family. I participate in outdoor activities with my friends and can keep up with the best of them. I've climbed mountains on 6 continents, one of which was in a gold mine a mile under the earth.



Hiking the Inca Trail in 3 nights and 4 days was yet another chance to prove that I can have my cake and eat it too. (The big, corner piece please!) Knowing that hiking 26 miles at altitude was not going to be that piece of cake, I started "training" the day after we booked the trek (6 months before). "Training" gets the quotes because I would have done things A LOT differently had I known what I'm about to tell you.

 I started taking all the stairs I could find, the 5 flights in my office building, the 2 in my house, and the 10 up the hill to my house. I started doubling back through the steps in the park by my house a couple times each night on my way home from work. I also started going to yoga 3 times a week to work on my breathing.


I thought I was preparing myself well considering my friend, Britt, just came back from the same trek and said it wasn't that hard at all. What I failed to remember at the time is that Britt runs marathons and there are a few differences between our bodies. I am basically 2 Britts.


 While there are certainly a lot of stairs on the Inca Trail and the high altitude requires some concentrated breathing techniques, I absolutely underestimated the cardio aspect. When you exert yourself at altitude, it is so hard to catch your breath. Your heart beats so hard and fast trying to get the feeble amount of oxygen your lungs are collecting to the working muscles of your body. So, if you are a chubby girl planning on hiking the Inca Trail, start cardio exercising like, yesterday.




All that being said, I did very minimal training and didn't die on Dead Woman's Pass! 

In the final leg of the trail, right before you get to the entrance of Machu Picchu, there's a set of 100ish stairs cheekily called the monkey stairs because you have to climb them hand over foot. They are so daunting but by that time I had so much adrenaline I just pushed all the way up. The following photo is us at the top. I  was so happy to have completed the final hurtle. 

In the end, I was sore and tired and dirty and stinky but it was so so so worth it. Not just because we got to view the sunrise over Machu Picchu from the sun gate but mostly because I achieved a goal. I was proud of myself. I prepared and did the hard work but I was also unequivocally me while doing it. Rolls and all.

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