Select Page

PCT Training and The Sick

Last updated Feb 14, 2022 | Published on Mar 24, 2017

I start my Pacific Crest Trail hike in exactly three weeks!

Yesterday I completed a 15-mile day hike with 4000 feet of elevation gain and a 30lb backpack – the culmination of a rigorous 3-month training plan. My feet felt like they had wings as I effortlessly sprinted past other hikers on the trail.

Ok that’s not what really happened.  My training plan did call for a 15-mile hike this week, but I was laying low with The Sick.  I came down with a stomach bug and a nasty cold following our trip to Belize earlier this month that have pretty much sidelined me for the past couple of weeks.  I haven’t been able to go the gym or to hike for the past week and a half.

Drinking Tea in my Unicorn Mug Always Makes me Feel Better

When I get sick, it tends to take me a long time to recover.  It’s frustrating.  Last year, I was sick off and on for six months with several colds that eventually developed into bronchitis and pneumonia.  I had a similar lingering illness six years ago when I was playing rollerderby.  I was on the Rat City Rollergirls “Fresh Meat” team (think: “B” Team) at the time and was training hard to get drafted on one of the home teams.  I was doing ok until the “derby cough” started going around and pretty much took out my entire team.  I kept trying to go back to practice before my body was fully recovered, only to end up getting sicker and sicker.  This went on for several months.  Eventually, I got a concussion from a car accident and that was the last straw.  I decided to take a break from derby and never ended up going back.

After my bout with pneumonia last year, I saw a doctor who suggested making some changes in my diet.  The chronic illnesses pointed to a compromised immune system.  My doctor suggested the Whole30 diet, which is similar to paleo but with the goal of eliminating any foods that could possibly irritate the digestive system.  I learned that most of my immune system is located in my gut, and that if my gut is irritated it won’t be able to function as well.

So, last summer, Daniel and I ate only Whole30-approved foods for an entire month.  We eliminated alcohol, sugar, grains, rice, beans, legumes, soy, dairy and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember right now from our diet.  What is there left to eat, you ask?  Well, we ate a lot of eggs, meat, vegetables and nuts.  It was HARD.  I’ve never done so much cooking in my life. But it worked – I felt better.  After the diet ended, I chose not to introduce gluten or dairy back into my diet.

And I haven’t gotten sick since then – until now.  I blame it on the trip to Belize.  I seem to get sick every time I travel on an airplane.  Now I’m re-thinking the wisdom of flying to San Diego in 3 weeks.  I’m even considering renting a car and driving down instead of flying.  Hm.

Back at the Gym at Last – Yes I am Wearing my 30lb Backpack on the Treadmill

But the good news is that I’m on the mend, finally, and made it back to the gym again for the first time today.  My ribs are sore from coughing and I went through an entire box of Kleenex today, but I’m feeling a lot better than I did last week.  Yay!

Thankfully, I’m not too sick to work on other PCT-related projects.  I finished my resupply plan/maildrop list (I plan to have 28 resupply boxes), filed my taxes, put all of my bills on autopay, and drew up a will, living will and power of attorney documents.  Also I’ve been keeping my dehydrator running 24 hours a day with food for my PCT resupply strategy and finalizing my PCT gear list.

Some of my Dehydrated Food…

So, yes, I’m WAY behind in my PCT training plan.  But I keep reminding myself that my primary goal right now is to kick this stupid cold.  I’m going to have to just be ok with hiking slower in the beginning of my hike and work up to a faster pace.

Sigh. Patience is NOT one of my virtues 🙂

Archive of Previous Posts

Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


  1. Mom

    May this be the bug that you get over now and leave behind you for good!

    • Unicorn

      Thanks Mom 🙂

  2. Keebler

    Due to a birth defect in my sinuses, I used to suffer chronic sinus infections from everyone’s “little” colds. Every time I flew, I’d get sick. This was a big problem with family spread out over three continents. A LIFE CHANGING tip was given to me: get a tube of Bacitracin (legal over the counter in the US, but not necessarily other countries), subtly line your nostrils with it… get it up there… be that crazy lady… if the flight is longer (over 6 hours) do it again. It is an antibiotic and after adopting this, I have never gotten sick again on my 14-16 hour flights.

    • Unicorn

      Oh really? I’m intrigued. Thanks for the tip :). I may just give this a try…


I want to hear from you! Leave your comment below: