As the clock counted down to 2020, I was surrounded by family and friends at my daughter’s home in central Indiana…Happy New Year! And with those two words, it all became more real. I’m thru hiking the AT. This year! However, it wasn’t at the exact moment that the New Year rang in that I thought about it. I had accomplished what I set out to do in December, which was to forget about the trail for a moment, for the holidays, so I could focus on being present for the holidays and to enjoy the time with family and friends, and to not wish remaining days of the year away. So, I made a promise to myself to not blog our journal about my upcoming A.T. journey. It was hard to do as the questions by others often arose about my adventure. It wasn’t until the next day that the weight and sheer enormity of the adventure hit me square in the face, mind, heart, and soul. It’s go time now, and with that…the window of excitement opened wider. Which allowed for some uncertainty and fear to sneak in as well.
While my mind was at rest last month about the A.T., my body was another story. While I’ve always been active with exercise and training, I started to intensify my workouts in December, and will continue to do so over the next 3 months, with a taper week before my step off date of 3-22. This is a training practice that is familiar to me. It feels almost reminiscent of when I was a marathoner and triathlete. Ugh, I so miss those days, Damn RA! So, my goal is not to get me up to 100% trail legs so I can crush out huge miles on day 1, but rather, to get me 100% prepared to follow my plan. A build up plan that will allow for me to do what the A.T. does best, build and strengthen you with each step. I plan to hike each day until I reach a comfort level to meet my daily & weekly miles to get me to Mount Katahdin, while still enjoying the journey. So for those who have comments about my plan, “HYOH” aka. Hike Your Own Hike, which is a term said to others whom judge others trail goals, plans, gear, etc… The last thing I want to do is to over-train, lose too much weight, or risk injury before I even get to that first blaze on Springer Mountain.
While uncertainty and fear has crept its way back into the depths of my mind, I will not let my own demons win this battle. So, along with increasing my psychical training, it’s now time to also focus on the mental training that is needed to fight the fear of doubt. It’s been said by numerous thru hikers that the game is most certainly more mental than physical, and I won’t take their words of experience for granted. My past experience with my one and only Ultra-Marathon race, prior to my RA diagnosis, taught me that 6 months of training, as well as race day, proved to be a mental beating of an epic proportion. An emotional battle that I loved, hated, screamed at, cried over, swore to, and one that I beat, and finished, with crushing my last, tearful mile. But it’s been years since I’ve pushed myself to my breaking point. As I face my fears head on, I’ve found it to be beneficial for me to list them out so that I can cast them openly into The Universe if only to release them from my mind with trust and faith that The Universe will answer with guidance and the support needed to tame the ugly beast between my ears.
And while as silly as some of these are, they need to be released…. So, in no particular order:
- Am I doing the right thing?
- Am I being selfish?
- Am I being thoughtless?
- Am I being reckless?
- Will I be lonely?
- Will I be cold?
- Will I get lost?
- Will I get eaten by a bear, cougar, dog, or a crazy person?
- Will I make it all the way?
- Will I be satisfied?
- Will I find purpose?
- What will I do when I’m done?
- Will RA win?
I know, I’ve got issues, right? Knowing that I have issues is half the battle, and just sharing them with you is a joyful release. I already feel lighter in my conscious mind. These questions don’t even need the answers for now, as finding the answers just require me to take one NOBO step at a time and allow The Universe to guide me. I am confident that I will find these answers, and the purpose I’m looking for, as long as I don’t get eaten by anything, lol. Feel free to send me love, light, and energy, or prayers, or anything wise you think may help guide me on this epic journey. I sure could use it. I’ve got this! Be_again!
Purpose NOBO 3-22: 79 days to step off and counting!