Friday, November 25, 2011

A Goal Achieved

Albright Grove Trail - GSMNP
November 18, 2011

It is just after 5 a.m. and as you can see, I am sitting comfortably in my nice warm den not anywhere close to a retail establishment of any sort!  As one who intensely dislikes shopping and even more intensely dislikes large crowds, Black Friday isn't, not has it ever been, something about which I get excited.  

But I will tell you that today, I am VERY excited because it is a red letter day and is going to be a stunningly beautiful one here in East Tennessee.  Somewhere around noon, I will meet my goal of hiking 300 miles during 2011.  And I will do it with Mr. B as my hiking partner of the day which makes it even more special.  It will not be a lengthy hike since he is not the avid hiker that I am, but will be along one of my favorite trails in the Smokies, the Alum Cave Trail.  We will only hike the first half of the trail, but IMHO, this is one of the most beautiful trail sections in the park and with clear skies predicted, it will be perfect.  I only lack 2.8 miles so will technically reach my goal just after we start the return trip from the cave!  

I set this particular goal last December while we were in Florida, but if you remember, I spent much of January and February in doctor's offices trying to figure out why I was so sick.  In fact, I did not hike one single time until the end of February.   At that time, not only was I skeptical that I would meet the goal at all, I certainly would've never predicted meeting it before the end of November.  

So as I sit here pondering all this, I am reminded once again that we never, ever give up!  When the task before us seems so daunting, we don't quit, we simply take the first step.  The first hike I took towards my 300 mile goal was only 3.1 miles, but today, I realize how important that 3.1 miles really was.  I remember that day well.  I did not feel good and it was cold.  But I wanted to be in my mountains and I wanted to be on a trail.  At that point, 300 miles wasn't even on my radar.  I just wanted to enjoy the beauty of THAT day and those 3.1 miles.  But TODAY, I see how those miles fit perfectly into the whole 300 mile picture and those 3.1 miles breathed life back into a tired, sick, frustrated me who wasn't certain I'd do much hiking at all in 2011, much less reach an ambitious goal.  

I can also tell you that on that same day last December, I set the goal to be at goal weight by the end of 2011.  A goal which was probably more doable than the hiking goal.  But on this one, I never took that first "3.1" miles.  The end seemed so daunting, I never started.  And so here I sit pondering that as well knowing that I'm exactly where I was this time last year and knowing that the next five weeks is a minefield of opportunities to make matters worse.  

The difference between a goal achieved and a goal with which I've done a lot of blathering about, but not taken that first 3.1 miles to reach???  Hiking is a passion.  I cannot describe that euphoric feeling that starts when I pull my backpack out of the closet and doesn't end until I pull off the boots and stick 'em back in the trunk at the end of the day.  I'll do ANYTHING to get to hike!  I'll hike in the rain or snow and I'll hike when I feel like crap.  

When my passion to reach goal weight matches my passion to hike, I guarantee it'll happen.  And that's what I'm going to think about as I start those remaining 2.8 miles in a couple of hours.  Because today, it seems as if the passion is there! What encourages me is that the passion flared yesterday about noon when I looked at the feast spread of gloppy (not sure that's a word!), gooey, sugary choices on the Thanksgiving buffet at MIL's house and the light bulb came on.  Because in that moment, I realized that the only thing on that table that truly looked good to me was the pure, unaltered beautiful breast meat of that turkey!  And I did o.k. throughout the day because that feeling stayed.  I simply did not want all of that other stuff.   

Could it be that this last 2.8 miles to reach a goal in 2011 will also be the FIRST miles toward reaching another goal that would simply enhance my chances of reaching even more ambitious hiking goals in 2012.   It's that circle of life thing and for me, I want to participate in ALL of it at my very best level with a passion that burns red hot and spreads to everyone around me.  

I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day surrounded by those you love and with little stress and/or drama!  I count each of you as friends and took time to give thanks for the gift of friendship and the miracle that it can occur in different forms.  I am thankful for the gift of writing and the many moments of pleasure you have brought to me!  

Come on friends, these next five weeks are NOT a time to play with our weight!  Much, much damage can be done!   Find the passion and reach higher!


  1. I made the analogical leap along with you here. As I was reading that first part, I was thinking about your passion and how you "wanted" to hike. And how do you find that same desire for your other goal. I read optimism, today, Sharon. Love that.

  2. 549 so far for me this year. I made myself a pack to walk 400 and I did that. Isn't it cool to make our goals and still have time to get more in. Way to go Sharon. That is awesome. Keep up the great work and do enjoy your walk/hike today. Blessings.

  3. Congrats on meeting your hiking goal on this beautiful day! Like you, I left the icky foods on the table and had small portions of the things I love. I am satisfied that it was a very nice Thanksgiving, and I am not retaining fluid or having sugar spikes today. What a great feeling!

  4. Congratulations on meeting your ambitious hiking goal. I think meeting that rather daunting goal, especially when you got such a late start will be just what you need to spur you on to your weight loss goal in 2012.

    BTW, I'm not a black Friday shopper either!

  5. "When my passion to reach goal weight matches my passion to hike, I guarantee it'll happen."

    Ooooh, I like that sentence. So insightful, so true. And I agree with Karen... this felt optimistic to me, too. :-)

  6. Congratulations! What a terrific achievement. I am inspired by your post and will look to find my passion in eating healthy and getting thinner. I'm with you on Black Friday. Inconceivable that I will go shopping in the middle of the night -- unless it's a night market somewhere much more interesting than NYC.

  7. Oh what a picture! That is stunning! Hiking 300 miles is just .. incredible! WELL DONE!

  8. Congrats on the hiking goal - that is a *lot* of miles!

  9. Congratulations on achieving your goal! I have no doubt that there's *nothing* you can't do when you put your mind to it!

  10. That is quite an achievement, Sharon! I loved your description of how happy you are when you reach into the closet to get your boots. I know that feeling, too. It just feels so good to do things that you never thought you could because of ill health.

    Yes, that 2.8 miles can be the start of a new goal for you. So, glad your hubby was along with you for this milestone. Attitude is everything and you certainly have it in this post. Positive attitude.

  11. Congrats on your hiking goal. Keep posting your great hiking photos and best wishes for weight maintenance and safe travels in 2012. KarenP

  12. Congratulations! You could probably walk to me now!! Lovely pictures.

  13. Congratulations on reaching your hiking goal! I wish you many many more successes.

    My Thanksgiving has been wonderful. I don't return to LR until tomorrow; so, in a way, it's still going on. Lots of togetherness has been just what I needed. I'm also ready for some silent solitude.

    I love the faith and optimism in this post... that's one of the things I love about you!

  14. Sharon...I want to give you a big hug...I just do. This most means so much to me as I can identify so much with you in this. If we will do so much to get on that trail (for me it's getting up before the sun on a Saturday and endure the pain in my legs a few days afterwards on those crazy 3,000+elevation gain hikes), then why will I not give up some items, or exercise when I don't feel like it to reach my weight goal? I know you are several steps ahead of me on this health journey, and I really enjoy reading about how far you've come, and what it looks like ahead of me.

    Congrats on reaching your goal! You picked a fabulous trail to do it on. Sooo...what is your 2012 goal??

  15. I love your goal reached, Sharon!! Super duper great!

    Thanks to the red warning at the bottom of the post. Can you whack me over the head with it? :D

    :-) Marion

  16. Hey Sharon! Thanks for the comments on my blog. I did the Meigs Mtn Trail today up to Curry Mtn and back to Elkmont to make it to my goal. It was a gorgeous day for a hike!

    That is great about your hike to Abrams Falls and it being people less. I like that hike alot, but have never been passed the falls. That's sad to hear about the rockslide though, as I was hoping to finish that trail over the winter. Maybe they'll get it fixed before too long.

    Hope you guys have a great weekend! We are doing a 5k in Maryville tomorrow afternoon. Should be fun as people will be dressed up for Christmas :)