By day 5, we, pilgrims - as we are called, are at our most base/authentic selves. We are sweaty, smelly and damaged.
Blisters had formed on the bottoms of my feet, and in an effort to provide some relief and avoid the tender areas, I began to walk differently, which caused blisters to form on other areas. Additionally, hips, shins, feet and backs are barking. My left lower leg started to feel like it wasn't part of my own body. It felt like the leg of a mannequin. Odd, very odd.
Others in my group had trouble with ankles, knees, sun rashes and chafing. By day 5 we had walked over 60 miles, had washed out our clothes in the sink multiple times, and would continue that routine for the next 7 days.
By day 5, I started my morning taking an ibuprofen. An hour later I was still struggling with body aches. One of my fellow pilgrims asked, "How much did you take?" When I reported I had taken 200 mg, she asked, "From the United States?"
600 additional milligrams and 20 minutes later I felt much better. At 1 pm, another 600 did the trick to get me through the rest of the day.
After 5 days, my body adjusted to its new routine. Once we arrived at our landing spot for the night I would wash out my clothes, bathe, and start addressing parts of my body which were in active revolt. I'd amble off to restorative yoga some days, while others I would have a beer and lay inverted on a lounge chair with my legs elevated enjoying my own meditative practice.