Saturday, March 14 already! That’s exciting, really, really exciting. Means Monday is my half-way mark, yippeeeeee!
This week has been a hard one. I’ve been waking up exhausted and it’s been a real struggle to keep pushing on and continuing this personal challenge. I’ve really wanted to give it up, and rather than having fun and finding the 10K hikes easy every day, I’ve been feeling like it’s a heavy burden/obligation to bear.
On Wednesday, I didn’t do any hike at all, which sucked but I accepted it.
Thursday I walk/jogged Cottonwood for my 10K, which was a real accomplishment. I don’t think I have ever run more than 3K in a row in my entire life. I jogged as much as I could on the way up the trail, but realistically I probably walked more than I jogged. It was really hard. I used every trick I had in my book. Pick a trail feature, run to it, run a few steps farther, then walk. Do it again and again and again. That got old, though. Then I used something from a tv show, ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’ Without giving any context from the show, the main character says “You can do anything for 10 seconds. Count to 10, then the next 10 seconds starts.” Anyway, I tried it, and that actually helped. Finally, though, I had to break it down to counting each step…walk 12 steps, run 12 steps, walk 15, run 15, 20/20, 30/30. Got up to walk 100, run 100, then started counting back down. That got me up the hill to the half-way mark, the river crossing, where I ecstatically took a break and stretched out a wicked leg cramp in my right leg. The way up was really hard. I really had to fight every step of the way, because there was part of me that, with Every. Damn. Step. kept screaming and whining at me that I should stop, turn around, go back, this is the last step, I don’t want to do it anymore, cry, cry, cry, whine whine whine. It was really awful and really darn hard to fight. Which is why I had to count every step. Just try 12 steps of running, Aspen, then you can walk for 12. Think you can make it 30 steps of running? The more running, the more walking you get! That’s how it went the whole way up. My body felt heavy, my spirit felt heavy. And forget trying to be present. My mind took any out it could and I just thought to hell with it. If I need to escape mentally in order to get through this physically, so be it. Whatever works. The way back down, though, was almost heavenly. It was downhill most of the way, which made a huge difference apparently. I’m not talking about huge inclines here, I’m talking maybe 1-5% for most of the trail, with one or two steep hills. But man, I felt it going up and I really felt the difference coming down. I jogged most of the way, only had to stop and walk a few times. It took me 1 hr 11 min to go up and 53 min to come down. So the way down was much more pleasant and I feel like I left a lot of the heaviness at the river crossing at the 5K mark (my turnaround point).
Friday was another day where I just feel like I sh*t the bed a little. I don’t remember much of what I did during my day, but I was feeling a lot of anxiety, like I had deadlines looming (I can’t think what they were) and a lot of worrying about things I “had” to do. That pushed my departure time for the hike way back while I tried to do some of the stuff at home, which meant that I only got a partial hike in before an afternoon appointment. I walked 2 loops, 6k, around the normal loop where I take my dogs, and then headed off, thinking I’d make up the rest after I got back. Anyway, the short story is that I didn’t get that last 4k in. I felt pretty ashamed. It wasn’t something I consciously decided. I feel like it was something I underhandedly let slide. The urge to lie to myself and on this blog and say that I had done 10K yesterday was really strong. The whiny-excuses voice bubbled up when that didn’t work. ‘But I had this, and that and blah blah’. The bottom line is that I didn’t finish it, and instead of doing that in a conscious way where I made that decision, I just let it happen, let it slide because I really didn’t want to admit that I really didn’t want to finish that last 4K. Man, that avoidance urge in me is sneaky, really sneaky. Anyway, all I can say is hey, I did 6K and nope, I didn’t lie about it. I choose to see that as a small win, even though I didn’t hit my daily goal win. Honesty about where I am and what I have and haven’t done is really important to me.
Today (Saturday) was a great hike. I feel like it was an actual hike. Went up Widow 300. The way up, though, I went through all the same shit. Anger. Frustration. Whininess. Avoidance. Laziness. Wheedling. Anger again. At one point in my head as I plodded my way up the hill, feet heavy and slow, I imagined myself bursting with screaming, screaming at the top of my lungs. It helped a little actually, but still. I don’t understand the…rage that I felt. Rage that it was hard, too hard said a sneaky part of me, and rage that I had to do it when I didn’t want to do it. So much like a snotty, sulky child. It’s annoying. And I had trouble with Oreo. He ran off into the forest, as usual, but then he started this yelping bark, which he does when he is really excited. I am still learning his barks, though, we’ve only had him for 1.5 years now. In my experience, that yelping sound means ‘mom help, I’m in trouble, I’m hurt’ and so I tried to ignore it, but I called and called and he wouldn’t come and I got scared, ran down a length of the hill I’d just achingly climbed, and called and called and finally he trotted out of the forest, tongue hanging out panting away as happy as can be. I was almost angry, but I was so relieved that it washed away. I can’t even scold him when he finally does come because I don’t want to discourage him from that command. Anyway, back up the hill, and that whole loop played out over again, though this time I wasn’t as quick to jog back down the hill. Eventually he showed up and he was spent, he could hardly walk up the hill he was panting so hard. He’d obviously found someone to chase in there. Elk? Bear? Cougar? Unknown. I’d guess elk, but he rarely makes those sounds for elk. It’s more his rabbit bark, but I doubt it was rabbit. Anyway, we continued up and then I reached a nice view point and I felt like a weight lifted off me. The beautiful vistas seem to really lift my spirits. It’s hard to be upset when you’re surrounded by the shoulders of the hills and the clouds are blowing by your face. It was pouring rain the whole time, too, but it eased a little for a while as I got up higher and I took off my hood and cap. I like getting an eyeful of the heights when I’m up there and the cap and hood really interfere. Anyways, we kept walking until the 1.5 hr mark (I passed the 5K mark early from the back and forth with Oreo) and then turned around. I saw a road I’d like to find tomorrow and it was a good reminder of how different I feel on hikes that gain a lot of height. The view really does something for me, uplifts my soul. The trees and forest are nice, but I find it easier to be closed into myself and lose myself in my head. But like I said, it’s hard to lose myself in my head when my head is surrounded by hills and valleys and clouds and treetops. I like the big picture. I like the far-away perspective. I think it’s maybe a metaphor for life, too.
Anyway, I’ve made it another week (almost) half-way. The proverbial 5K mark of my metaphorical 10K challenge haha. Everything from Monday on is downhill, easier. I hope. I’ve decided to sign up for an 8-day intensive EMR class, though, so I’m going to have to reassess on March 22 what my plan is for the rest of this challenge. I could postpone it. I could try to make it happen while I take the course (8hrs/day, 5 days/wk, plus hours of homework every night, if it was anything like my most recent OFA-3 first aid course). Probably some other options in there, too but I’m unsure. We’ll see what happens.
Until then, enjoy your paths and man, my heart goes out to you if you’re in an uphill phase right now. Fight it, one small step at a time, and remember ‘this too shall pass.’