June, 24 2010
Hola Senorita Bonita!
Sometimes you need a big fat reality check.
I considered myself a solid hiker, After all, I'd hiked for hours last summer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team-in-Training hiking group, even doing a 6-hour hike on Mount Tamalpais last September that barely fazed me.
So some casual hiking in Yosemite would be no big deal, right?
So how did I end up on the Mist Trail two weeks ago with my clothes getting soaked from the firehose of waterfall “mist” blasting into my ears, my lungs and throat burning, my legs rubbery and weak from the neverending granite stairs?
By the time I finally reached a slightly-less-wet resting point I was on the verge of tears and feeling panicky.
How were my husband, and brother- and sister-in-law hoofing up the steps far ahead of me like mountain goats?
I felt out of control, angry, embarrassed, and scared. I was clearly not in the shape I thought I was.
Ego meet reality.
It sounds silly, but it brought me back to my childhood when I'd faced physical or scary situations with a mixture of fear and anger, feeling helpless and alone.
In a Big Way.
But I have to give myself credit. I didn't cry this time. I stopped my old "you're weak, you can't do it" thoughts from repeating, and I was kind enough to mentally soothe myself with "You're OK, Gin. You're OK."
I recognized why I feeling scared and that this was just old stuff coming up. I talked myself back from giving into the fear, gave my husband the 12-pounds of our water I arrogantly figured would be no big deal for me to try to carry, and once I had enough breath back, sucked it up and soldiered on. I didn't beat myself up about it.
Slamming up against my physical limits rattled me deeply that day, but it was a blessing.
It reminded me how very rarely I ever push myself that hard.
Like most folks, I stay WELL within my limits, underestimating what I'm capable of. Over time the walls of our comfort zone shrink and we attempt less and less.
When is the last time you touched your limit? There's something cathartic in being forced out up to the edge of what you can handle, something powerful, and healthy.
How do you know where your edges are if you don’t find them once in a while?
Sometimes reality bites! But it inspired me to really kick up my fitness to another level so that doesn’t happen again to me anytime soon. And I’m grateful for that. It was the kickstart I apparently needed. (And it’s nice to work out at sea level again where I can breathe.)
Make the decision this week to push yourself this week a little further, to try to go a little beyond where you’ve gone before. Whether it’s walking another mile or taking on a project that’s you’re not sure you can do, do it. Try it.
You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you find out.
Then repeat as necessary – those walls keep getting further and further away the more you grow and stretch!
Sure, it wasn't fun feeling panicky and overwhelmed and stuck on a mountainside during that episode, but if I hadn't gone through that I would have never enjoyed the rest of the day's hiking and would have missed the amazing view from the top of Nevada Falls - simply spectacular.
There's a whole world out there we're missing when we play it too safe.
Make it happen! I'm cheering you on all the way.
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