At a certain point when do we say good-bye to comfort zones? For most of us out here the trail is a new way of life. It’s different than the day to day we have been accustomed to. Pro-tip is to ease into it. Don’t shock the system but gradually adjust to this new way of being.
It’s been interesting watching some people completely ignore this advice, push exceedingly hard, and are already out with injuries or bored and leaving for music festivals all summer. Others ignored it, are rocking so hard, and are so far ahead that it seems unlikely that I’ll ever see them again (except through Instagram posts).
Then there are those of us easing into it. Taking our time. Feeling out the groups of people. Which group won’t drive me crazy at camp at night? Feeling out the terrain. When can I look up and take in the views and when do I need to focus on the inch in front of my foot? Feeling out being disconnected and connected at the same time. Should I meet up with friends and try to keep to their “real world” schedules or let the trail take me where I need to go when I’m ready?
I hiked 52 miles in 3 days. That was well outside my comfort zone and caused some aches and pains, but no injuries. I’m glad I did it, but I know I don’t have to maintain that kind of pace. I’m not a mileage queen nor striving to be one. I have other internal goals I’m working on while pushing myself physically. I know magic happens when my comfort zone is left behind. When I can embrace something that is beyond me. That’s where change happens, that’s where growth happens, that’s where pride in self happens.
There aren’t a lot of bigger women out here but there are quite a few large men. I think because of my size they assume I’m out here with the goal to lose a bunch of weight, the way they are. I went on a weight loss journey before and prior to the trail it was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Losing over 100lbs takes work. In the misery of last year I packed some lbs back on. I’ve embraced my worth is not based on my weight. I am turning that misery weight into strength, other than that I’m not concerned. That’s not why I’m out here, that’s not this journey for me.
I sympathsize with the dudes I meet who are out here trying to lose a 100lbs. I think this is way harder than eating clean and riding a bike. This is deeper and bigger than weight loss. A lot of the dudes I met who are out here with that goal also seem scared to push outside their comfort zones. They do minimal mileage, eat garabage (we all do out here) and take about as many zeros and as they do days on the trail. They have big goals and expect their goals to just find them on the trail instead of pushing for them.
I hope they catch up to me I hope they suddenly do start doing those 25 mile days they envision for themselves. Until then I’m going to hike my own hike, keep enjoying the views, the challenge, and say good-bye to comfort zones.