It’s truly amazing what a few months can do for physical endurance.
I still remember the way I felt on my first intensive hike. I went with my family to Mt. Rainier for a gorgeous day of hiking to a river. I didn’t think much of it, planning to go on the hike. I didn’t think about how I’d handle the incline and distance or how I’d handle keeping up with my crazy fit family, most of which have done full marathons (yes, I said multiple). That was definitely one of my lowest moments physically. I can’t even think of a time that I felt lower about myself and what I could do.
What I do remember about that hike was my dad repeatedly stopping with me as I had to take constant breaks on the switchbacks. What I do remember is him telling me that I didn’t have to feel that way anymore and I could change. What I remember most of all was never wanting to feel that out of control and sick from physical activity ever again.
It took me awhile to get going on building up my strength and endurance. It didn’t happen overnight and I’ve failed multiple times. It’s always going to be a learning experience for me and I’m going to have to try and try again to continue on this positive path. For the most part, I have been on track lately and more determined than ever before. I’m at a huge turning point in my life where I’m independent and able to make my own decisions regarding my health and what makes me happy. I want to be making the best decisions for myself, both mentally and physically. I want to look back on this incredible time in my life and know that I did everything I could to reach for my dreams.
Although I am nowhere near done with changing my health for the better, I was able to test my newfound strength and endurance recently on a hiking trip.
My boyfriend and I went to Yosemite National Park on a first vacation together. We wanted to see as much as possible during our stay as we both love being outside. I was not disappointed in the beauty I saw around me.
We didn’t get to the area until fairly late on the first day, so we planned a short hike to the Giant Sequoias. We arrived just as the sun was setting. It was incredible. The way the sun reflected off the bark and branches was entrancing and I could have spent hours there (if the mosquitoes hadn’t been eating us alive).
The next day was one intense day of hiking. We started fairly early with a few viewpoints and worked our way in to some more intensive hikes. The big hike of the day was to Vernal Falls. Back in the planning stages of the trip, we discussed what we wanted to see and how much time to spend on each hike. We both wanted to see as much as we possibly could, so we didn’t plan anything too lengthy. Personally, I knew I wanted to do at least one hike with major elevation gain. Neither of us were prepared for anything too crazy, but definitely wanted to do something we’d be proud of later.
We settled on Vernal Falls and were not disappointed. The hike climbed the falls and had an elevation gain of 1000 ft over 1.5 miles. It took us much of the day to complete the hike, but every step was worth the heat and pain endured. Although I still had my moments of being out of breath, I was able to undertake the gain with only a few short breaks. If anything, I was leading on the hills for the first time in my life. Never did I feel like I couldn’t make it or like I was going to be sick. Although the hike was definitely still tiring, it was empowering to complete it without becoming a complete wreck. Six months ago, I never could have completed such a hike. That first hike I barely made it through a few years ago was nothing compared to what I accomplished at Yosemite.
Each little baby step I take towards the person I want to be is a baby step in the right direction. I never thought this was going to be easy, but always knew that it would be worth it. When we reached the top of the falls we reached the most beautiful view of Yosemite Valley. We were able to look over the side of the falls and enjoy our accomplishment with others who also made it to the top. It felt so good to be congratulated upon reaching the falls by others who had achieved the same goal.
Good things come to those who work for it. We were able to reward ourselves at the top by swimming in the gorgeous natural pools and sunbathing on the giant rocks. If I keep on this fitness path of running and learning to lift I can achieve anything I put my mind to physically. I want to see all of the beauty in the world. I don’t want to be restricted by what my body can and cannot do.