Over the last few weeks, my absence from this blog can be attributed to the fact that your humble author has been in the doldrums. Whether it’s the SAD that I discussed in my last post or something else, I can’t seem to shake the feeling of despondency. There are things that I want out of life that feel so far away… so impossible; and the feeling that those goals and aspirations are so far out of reach is driving me further and further down. I want more. I want to be more.
A few posts ago, I went on a 5.5 mile hike through part of the Appalachian Trail called “Raven Rocks”. Over this past weekend, I decided to challenge myself on a more difficult Appalachian Trail stretch. A 9.25 mile hike with 3,000 feet of elevation gain over harsh rocky terrain. The goal I set for myself was 4 hours. While that may seem slow, take the rocky terrain into consideration. This isn’t road running, and considering the 5.5 mile hike took about 3.5 hours with less elevation change, this was going to be a challenge. In my head… almost an impossible challenge.
Time started to tick and I started to run. With leaves piling over the trail, and most of the trail covered by rocks, there were only certain stretches where running was an option. But every chance I got, with every ounce of strength I had in my body, I was going to push.
I reached the halfway point at 2 hours and 3 minutes. At that point, the reality of the situation set in. My pace was good – this COULD be done. From that point on, every time I could run, I ran. Every time I ran out of breath, I forced myself to keep going.
The last marker was positioned 0.75 miles away from the finish line with 29 minutes before the 4 hour deadline and the largest ascent still left. I honestly can’t remember how many people I passed in that final 3/4 of a mile, but the adrenaline rush of being so close to accomplishing what I thought was impossible kept me charging forward.
To be honest, it didn’t matter if I won or if I lost, and it didn’t matter HOW I played the game. What mattered, is THAT I played the game. The day you stop believing that your goals and aspirations are worth fighting for is the day that you’ve been defeated. Nothing comes easy, especially the goals that seem so ridiculously far out of reach. Don’t give up on it. It’s amazing what your body can do if the mind is willing and ready. You will see abilities that you never knew you had, and eventually, you’ll realize that there is no limit to what you can be.
Today is your opportunity to be great! Fight for it! Take it! Then never look back.
Finishing Time: 3 hours, 50 minutes, 49 seconds