Have you ever heard of Rucking?
I had not until I started to see pictures of a friend of mine on Facebook doing it. At first, I thought “What the heck is this?” and “What is he up to?”. I continued to check out his posts about this activity and wondered if this would be something I could do. I began to look into it and saw that rucking, in its simplest terms, is walking/hiking with a weighted backpack. https://www.goruck.com/ At first, I was intrigued and I thought “Let’s go rucking.” but…
I Ended up not trying it because I figured it would be too hard for me and it was too far out of my comfort zone.
- I was not in great shape.
- You mostly do this outdoors and I have spent years making self-deprecating jokes about how I am an indoor girl, who likes temperature-controlled environments and a bug-free existence.😜
- I thought I would need to purchase too much special gear for it.
- I didn’t know how I would stay motivated by it.
but wait! That isn’t the end of my rucking story.
Fast forward a little over a year and another friend of mine mentions a pilgrimage in Spain that she and her husband were signed up to do but had been canceled due to Covid. She shared the name of the pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago, and asked me if I had ever heard of it. I had not.
She went on to tell me that the Camino is a pilgrimage that thousands of people do every year. (347,578 people completed it in 2019) Many who have completed the Camino say it is truly a spiritual experience, where you push your body through long days of walking/hiking, in order to end in a city called Santiago de Compostela. This city in Spain is the place where the apostle St. James is said to be buried. The pilgrimage ends right at the cathedral of St. James. There are many routes a pilgrim can choose from, some incredibly long (500 miles) and some much shorter, but they all end up in the same place. The most famous route begins in France, others start in Portugal, and some begin in Spain itself. https://bit.ly/32SYcQe
I found the idea of doing the Camino fascinating, and as we were continuing our conversation about it, my friend shared with me the true story of two lifetime best friends who completed the 500-mile France route together—while one was in a wheelchair! These two men wrote a book and made a documentary about their experience. How is this even humanly possible? I had to know, so she loaned me the book. It is aptly titled “I’ll Push You”, as that was the able-bodied friend’s response to his wheelchair-bound friend’s desire to do the Camino. https://amzn.to/32Ywi5k
Their story is truly amazing and motivating! Scott and I recently watched the documentary together, which shows them out on the pilgrimage in many tricky situations. They persevered through it all and I loved every second of seeing their friendship, devotion, determination and evolvement in action. The film was quite simply inspiring! It was definitely a tear-jerker and it certainly restored my faith in humanity. (You can check out the trailer here if you too are interested.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7gKD3q0-V0)
So…you may be wondering where I am going with all of this?
After learning more about the Camino and doing some research on my own, the idea of attempting this pilgrimage has been continually swirling around in my head. I realized— I want to do this. I know I would LOVE the spiritual experience of it, but I also think I would LOVE the sense of community I would find out on the trail. Meeting people from around the world, all sharing a singular experience together, has to feel incredible. Also, just having enough confidence in myself to say “I can do this if I set my mind to it.” has been empowering to consider. To me, the Camino is my carrot. I need a carrot to get me to put myself out there and push me to do things I never would have done before. But where do I start?
HERE is where Rucking comes back into the story.
As I have considered this new dream of doing the Camino (probably not the 500-mile route 😉), I have wondered how I could possibly train for something like this? Well…that brought me full circle to the idea of trying out rucking. Rucking is perfect training for this because it is basically hiking with a weighted backpack. So with the goal of one day completing a Camino, I began this new adventure. I have decided to put my big-girl pants on, endure rain or shine, get out there and do it.
I bought myself a hiking backpack and added a 10-lb ruck plate to it. I reached out to my friend on Facebook who loves to ruck and he referred me to a great, local ruck group. The group has been very welcoming and has offered many tips to a newbie like me. It was actually simpler to start than I thought it would be.
I now have 6 rucks under my belt and have upped my weight to 11lbs, with 20lbs being my ultimate goal. I can say I am truly loving it so far. It makes me feel like a badass! 💪🏻🤣 I have walked a couple of trails and also just around my neighborhood- I am sure my neighbors think I am quite the weirdo with my backpack on, but who cares!
The great thing about rucking is you can make it whatever you want it to be. Some people are super into the Ruck Events, which I still need to learn more about, and some people do it all on their own for fitness and enjoyment. I am doing it as a way to train for the Camino and also to help me get into better shape. Rucking is supposed to be great for your legs, core, back, and posture—all things I could use help with!
Wish me luck, would you?
My plan is to take it slow and steady. Scott has joined me with this activity as well, which is really nice. Sometimes we go out together and somedays it is just me, my AirPods, backpack, and God. Either way, I am enjoying it so far and excited about where this new adventure will take me. I forgot how fun it is to try something new. When was the last time you did? Maybe it is time you did? Perhaps today is the day to turn to a friend or spouse and say “Let’s go rucking.”