This is not going to be my best trail season. I am not going to double last year’s summer hiking distance (over 800 km, thank you very much). There. I said it. That right there, that’s acceptance.
It is also an obvious statement, but it’s one I’ve been fighting. I have been telling myself if I just work more, push harder, I can somehow salvage this hiking season and get back to last year’s fitness level. I’ve refused to accept that it’s not possible. Until now.
Yesterday, as I was lumbering slowly up a steep-ass trail, cursing myself yet again for being so ‘out of shape’ and ‘weak compared to last year’, I started the classic bargaining game: if I just up my hiking intensity drastically next weekend, then really go hard core when I’m in the Rockies for my vacation, and dedicate September and October to all-weekend-hiking-extravaganzas, I can still make this my best trail season! Only after psyching myself up with utter lies did I pause to contemplate how dreadfully awful all that sounded.
Last year I was the fittest I’ve ever been. No trails were too steep nor too long. I was a racehorse uphill. And I loved it. I loved getting faster and stronger and dedicating all my free time to exploring new trails with a fervor that definitely bordered on obsessive. This year, I lack that drive and I’ve assumed it’s because I’ve gotten lazy or undisciplined. That’s really not at the heart of my relative lack of drive. Deep down, I know that my body needs a break and needs to actually heal. Every time I push too hard and too fast it tells me with a setback. Every time I try to prove myself wrong, I end up taking two steps backward. I have to accept it: this is not the year for trail glory.
I can’t say it feels good to accept it, but it feels right.