The idea came to me as I was sitting in traffic heading to the trailhead. I typically start early morning (4:30am) when there aren’t many cars on the street. Today I slept in a bit, and left when I woke up. As I was parking, I decided that today would be the day that I finally run up the mountain. Started my fitness tracker, did a light jog from my car to the actual trail head, then “took off”. I saw another hiker who typically runs the trail on his way down as I was heading up. He seemed excited to see me running instead of hiking. It is pretty major for me to actually run on the trail, so I imagined his enthusiasm was for seeing someone else running.
Conversation in my head
On this particular trail, the beginning of the trail is pretty intense. I knew this going in, but I was not prepared to feel how this same section of trail felt while trying to run it. As I was losing speed, I could hear footsteps behind me. Another runner I asked myself, so I turned around to see. Nope, it was the same hiker who had passed me on the way down making his way up for another lap. I got encouraged to pick up the pace a little since I didn’t want to get caught by the now “walking” hiker, How about this joker caught up to me while walking, and passed me. It was in that moment that I started questioning what I was really doing 😂😂. So many thoughts crossed my mind including (but not limited to)
- Should I just stop running?
- Isn’t it embarrassing to be running, and a walker catches up to you?
- Maybe I wasn’t ready to run the mountain
- Is that a pain in lower back?!
- I need to schedule a meeting with my chiropractor!
- How far is the clearing from where I am right now?
- Oh no! this is the first little flat area, I have some ways to go
- Will I really run the whole way up, or should I just resign myself to running it partially
There were so many other thoughts that came across my mind, and before I knew it I was well on my way on to the 2nd flat of the trail. Ahead of me were several other hikers, some of whom appeared to be struggling. I contemplated not passing them because I too felt like I was struggling. I decided to just go for it instead of overthinking “how it would look to run pass them only to be caught by them again”.
What I learned
Each trail comes with so many different lessons. On this one, I learned that it is so easy for negative thoughts to flood your mind when you are attempting something new. For me, not making it to the top of the mountain was not an option. The real question I asked myself was “How will you make it to the top? Will you run or will you walk?” I was already committed to running to the top, so I did just that! I made it to the top, and all the negative thoughts melted away. Knowing that I can run that particular mountain inspired me. The next move is to improve the time it takes for me to get to the top while running. Don’t give up on yourself. It doesn’t matter how others perceive your attempt, or the negativity surrounding you trying something for yourself. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Before you realize it, you will be there.