Sunday, June 17, 2012

Racing for a cure and hiking for my health - Part 2

My apologies if I left some of you in suspense with my last post! I felt it was too long already and that I should split it in half. I was also exhausted and needed to get to bed!

So where were we? Oh yes, the Wobble. If you were expecting to actually see the video of me dancing, I'm sorry to disappoint you! I've only seen it once myself and it's not in my possession. But that experience was oddly liberating for me. You see, up until a few years ago I had always been the wallflower. I hated attention and would do everything in my power to NOT stand out. I would sit on the sidelines at school dances or weddings because I was too self-conscious to put myself in a position where people might actually see me and pass judgement on me & my weight.

The older I get and the more weight I lose, the more I notice a change in my confidence (or my don't-give-a-fuck-ness). I surprise and impress myself every time I run a distance farther than the last and realize... hey, that wasn't so bad. I surprise myself in the middle of Zumba class when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window and think "wow... you're dancing and it actually looks good!" I used to be so overweight and clumsy and ashamed of how I looked that I wouldn't try new things or push my comfort limits. So for me to jump in front of a crowd of people and start dancing without even a thought as to what people would think or how I would look, that was a huge victory for me.

I've adopted a theme for my life in recent years and that is essentially to do the stuff I was too afraid to do, or didn't think I could do, back when I was at my heaviest. Achieving these small victories reminds me (better than any number on the scale ever could) exactly how far I have come, and for that I am grateful. In keeping with that theme, not only did I run a 5K on June 9th... I decided to go for a hike that same afternoon. I like to refer to this adventure as Bang & Alan vs. Nature. My friend Alan (from Sweating Until Happy) and I had been talking about trying a hike at one of the local parks and we finally made plans to do it. It was his first hike ever and I guess it was my first "real" hike since the only other trail I've been on is short and relatively flat.

I wore my ass-kicking shirt for our hike.
It held true: my feet did hurt & we DID kick major ass!
We set off that afternoon on an ambitious 7.6 mile hike in the woods, not quite sure what to expect. Let me remind you I had just run 3.1 miles earlier that morning!! I was nervous about the distance, even suggesting we could turn around if it got too difficult, but Alan shut that down right away. I appreciated his confidence and commitment to the challenge ahead, and I must say I couldn't have asked for a better hiking companion! The trail was considered "moderate" by the trusty map I'd snagged pre-hike and it definitely was not easy. Neither of us had hiking boots/shoes and that ended up being our biggest obstacle, as the ground was pretty uneven. I was hugely impressed by the handful of trail runners who passed us over the course of nearly 4 hours in the woods. It was difficult enough walking those 7.6 miles, I can't imagine running them!

We stopped here for a re-fuel and hydration break!
During our hike we saw frogs, lizards, snakes, hungry bees and fish! One of my favorite things was how quiet and peaceful it was out there. At times it felt like we should just be quiet and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The last two miles of our hike were the most difficult. We were both pretty tired by that point and were unsure of how much further we needed to go. Exhaustion started to set in and I swear it seemed every 100 feet one of us (mostly me) would exclaim "I think we're almost there!" only to be proven wrong shortly thereafter. I chose this time to remind Alan (as he had asked me to) how excited he had been prior to the hike. We channeled every ounce of energy we had left and eventually found our way out of the trees and in to the parking lot, where we celebrated our victory with a high-five.

It was a difficult workout but one I would definitely do again... just with better shoes next time! Alan's account of our adventure differs (wildly) from my recollection but it was so entertaining I thought I'd share:

The End


  1. I can just imagine you handing over his shoulder as he runs back the whole way out of the woods. LOL! I wish we had places to hike in my area!

  2. OMG that still makes me laugh!