I love hammering out miles.
Whether on my bicycle or on the trail I love going past the limit of most people’s norms. It’s the same reason I have grown to love Baptiste yoga. There is this place of exhaustion where you no longer think about all the bullshit in your life and you’d simply are moving. No longer worrying about those who have wronged you, pondering presidential history (this one might be specific to me), or dreaming of your future chill ass billionaire husband who does yoga and finances your travels around the world.
You move. You breathe.
I find when I can reach this place I can be so much more present once I am given a chance to rest. Once I am sitting and chatting with someone, I am truly listening to them. I’m just there. Existing. Just existing.
Earlier on the trail I was able to get those kind of miles. Push and push hard. I walk slower than everyone else, but I could push out more miles. My body felt fine and I could push. Then I switched out my shoes.
I had Saucony trail runners that were fantastic. While others complained of foot pain I just kept moving. After 265 trail miles and 11 days of rain I thought my trail runners were done. When they got wet they stayed wet, I could feel ever rock under my foot, and my trail runners felt flimsy overall. There was a pair of broken in Merrell boots I had waiting for me and I wanted the switch. This was a big mistake. These shoes have destroyed my feet. Everything hurts. It has messed up my feet so much that it has messed up my legs and now my hips. I can’t pound out miles anymore. I’m slower than anyone else on the trail and I’m hobbling along.
This has been humbling. I don’t reach that place of being. I think and I think alot. I think about how much pain I’m in. I think about my frustration with these boots (or sandals- I have had to hike over 40 miles in sandals since getting the boots), I think about how all my friends I have made on the trail are not just getting miles ahead of me- they are getting days ahead of me.
The pain has knocked my mileage down from 15-18 mile days to 8-12. I’m currently taking a zero to give me feet a real break. It’s snowing in the mountains so I used the snow as an excuse but the reality is my feet are killing me.
More than my foot struggles, its the feeling of being left behind. My friends are up in Virginia as I’m still chipping away at Tennessee. It feels like so much of life. I’m doing my own thing. I’m taking care of myself. My life doesn’t need to look like others, but there is still an irksome feeling of left behindness. Or not doing it rightness.
There is a saying on the trail: The Trail Provides.
Right now as I’m slowing down I have to say to myself, The Trail Provides. It’s providing me the opportunity to explore instead of hammer. It’s providing me with opportunities to meet new people. It’s providing me with the opportunity not to compare myself to others. To hike my own hike. I’m not left behind. I’m not slow. I’m not doing it wrong. I’m experiencing this trail in my own way. At my own pace. In my own time. Just because my hike, my life, and my experience doesn’t look like others it’s not wrong. It’s my own. I’m still moving forward. In my own time.