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!