I was convinced that I was done - that I was taking a hiatus to let things settle. But, a still small voice kept whispering that giving up was not the answer, and that it was time to recommit. I felt overwhelmed with the feeling that this body is mine, a gift from a loving Heavenly Father, and I need to care for it...to treat it like the precious gift it is. Furthermore, I felt strongly (as I have many times in the past) that I have been given this challenge for a reason, and I am meant to overcome it - and I will if I have faith and keep moving forward.
Have faith and keep moving forward.
I felt like I had to do something big...something to prove to myself AND to this body that I am recommitted. I kept thinking about Stephanie Nielson of the Nie Nie Dialogues and the hike she made on the 1 year anniversary of her accident (I can't get the post to link here, but if you want to read about Nie's hike (which I highly recommend), go to her website and from her archives choose August 2009. The post is called 'At the Top' and was posted on August 17, 2009). I thought about the courage and commitment it took for her to do it - but more than that, the message it sent to her mind and to her body AND to all those around her that she would not be overcome...that she would face the challenge...no matter how hard and painful it would be.
That was when I knew how I would recommit myself...and this morning, I recommitted!
|I'm Climbing Up - Hiking the Y - 4-28-2012|
The hike to the Y has 10 switchbacks to reach the base. Over the course of the hike you climb 980 feet in elevation.
Here I am at the top of the first switchback...
I was ready to DIE. Hauling 412 lbs. of loveable old me up that mountain was HARD. It was REALLY hard. Think about going for a hike...now think about asking your friend, and a couple of kids to jump on your back and go on that hike. Seems impossible, right! Well, that is certainly how I was feeling at this point.
BUT, I was determined...
It was here, at the top of the first switchback, that we ran into some trouble. My sister had agreed to come with me (as well as her 2 kids, the Hubs and my 2 daughters) and she was trying to push a stroller up this mountain - it wasn't working...and it became painfully obvious that she could not keep going.
WELL, I wasn't going to let her walk back down on her own with 2 kids and a stroller - so we all walked her down to the trail head, The Hubs and my youngest daughter were worn out, and weren't ready to try to conquer the Y again, so they stayed at the van. But my oldest daughter, Amaia, wasn't ready to throw in the towel, and neither was I. So together we headed back up the mountain.
I didn't think I could make it. My legs were shaking after coming downhill (again, 412 lbs. coming down a fairly steep elevation) and I was breathing hard - the incline was getting the better of me. But again, I was determined...and I made it, for the second time, to the top of the first switchback.
I checked Runkeeper and I had walked .64 miles at this point - the entire hike is 1.75 miles round trip!!! My daughter and I sat down, and I began to accept that I could not keep going. BUT, Amaia was not ready to quit. She asked me if she could start up the second switchback, just to see how it was...I said yes, and she bounded off. A few minutes later she came back and told me she thought I could do it. I don't know if it was the look in her eye, or the complete belief she had in me that I could make it - but I decided she was right. So I got up, and started up the second switchback.
It was slow going. I had to take a break every 10 - 15 steps. The incline was greater on this stretch and it was definitely making it tough on me. BUT, we made it....
|Top of the 2nd Switchback!|
....to the top of the third...
....to the top of the fourth....
...to the top of the fifth...
At the fifth switchback we sat down to rest. A nice family started talking to us and noticed that we were running low on water, a concern I had just been talking to Amaia about at the top of the last switchback. This family, who had no idea who we were, took two bottles out of their pack and gave them to us. Seriously, the people that were on the trail today - young college students, families, couples - they were all so sweet and SO encouraging! Honestly, they kept me going.
I was really tired at this point, and I could see that the inclines were going to be pretty steep the rest of the way up. I knew I was running out of steam - but I wasn't quite there yet. So we kept going.
We made it to the top of the sixth switchback....four more to go...should we keep going, or was it time to turn back.
I realized that I was going to have to walk down some pretty steep terrain to get back to the car - and downhill jaunts make my quads BURN. I knew I could probably force myself to keep going...but I also realized that I had come much farther than I thought I would, and I was satisfied.
Amaia and I decided to head back down the mountain.
Going downhill went SO MUCH faster than hiking up. I even found that a little jog made it much easier - and so I jogged - a little. Before I knew it we were at the top of the first switchback. We turned and started down...and then it happened...
I slipped and fell...and I heard something pop in my leg.
Oh. My. Hell!
As I sat there on the ground I worried I had broken my leg...and I thought...how in the hell am I going to get down the rest of the trail! I didn't want to panic, because Amaia was right there...but I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do. After a few minutes the pain started to subside, so I stood up.
OUCH! I was hurting! Each step sent pain shooting up my leg.
Amaia ran down to the trail head and asked the Hubs to bring the van up, which he did. He also rushed up the trail to help me down the last little bit and into the van.
I was hurting, but I was PROUD!
No, I didn't make it to the top, but I made a pretty decent attempt and I felt fantastic about it, in spite of the pain. I also knew that I would, without a doubt, make it to the top the next time out.
Cheesy as this may sound, I learned some things out there on the hike today that I think are very applicable to my other journey!
- The climb is easier if you take small steps AND keep moving forward. Every start and stop breaks up the momentum and it is harder to get up and keep going. Also, it is surprising how quickly all those small steps add up!
- I could never have gotten as far as I did without the constant encouragement and support of my daughter. Having her with me on the journey was invaluable.
- Taking the advice of those who had already been to the top made the journey easier, and accepting the help of others out on the trail made it possible to keep going.
- When it was time to turn back, there was no way I could discount the immense amount of progress I had made - and it didn't make sense to. Yes, I still had a ways to go, and no, I wasn't going to reach the top today...but I knew that I would be mentally and physically better prepared for the next time, and so it was worth it.
- When I slipped and fell, even though it hurt like hell, I had no choice but to get up and keep moving forward. Giving up was not an option. I was not willing to submit to a full scale rescue operation!
- When I was hurting the worst and didn't really think I could make it down without a med evac unit (yes, that was a little bit of drama) the Hubs was there, allowing me to lean on him to make it through. Sometimes we just have to lean on someone for a while to help us get through some of the harder, more painful parts of a journey.
Am I recommitted? Yes, Yes I am.
Am I going to fail? No, No I am not. There may be stretches of the journey where the going is slower - but that is OK. I am still making progress. And all that slow progress adds up to BIG progress in the overall scheme of things. Also, there are people who are being placed around me on this journey that are intended to help me make it to the top. They have advice, and insight...and sometimes even that one thing I need to keep going. It's not a coincidence they are there - and knowing that makes me feel like I can't fail. On top of all of that, I have so many loving and caring friends, co-workers and family members pulling for me (including all of you) and encouraging me to keep going - how can I possibly fail with that kind of positive energy and love being sent my way?
Am I going to trip and fall? Probably...and when it happens, I probably won't even expect it! But sitting there, wallowing in the dirt, and feeling sorry for myself isn't going to do anything to improve the situation. And if I am hurt by the fall, the wound CERTAINLY isn't going to heal while I am sitting there in the dirt on the side of the mountain! In fact it will most likely get worse. No matter how painful, I have to pick myself up and keep going - and I will. Now, I may need to lean on someone to help me through the worst parts, but I know there are people ready to step up and help until I can walk on my own again.
I am ready. I am climbing up.
You know what else I realized today...It is all about the climb!
So, I realized that I didn't address the wound I incurred today. Yes, I am hurt - how badly, I'm not sure. Clearly I didn't break my leg, but the odds of a torn muscle or tendon seem fairly good. I am resting now, but will likely be headed to the urgent care center later this evening.
No matter. It was worth it.