An Update

The Struggle is Real

It is funny how life can work sometimes. You find things in the least likely of places, right when you need to find them. These recent serendipitous moments came to me recently from a familiar source – the Backpacker Radio Podcast. The two most recent episodes seem like they were tailor-made for me and my current state of mind. I finished Section 3 of the Hiker Challenge a week and a half ago but have struggled to find the inspiration to put words to my experience. While this blogging experience has been fun so far, I haven’t been getting what I expected to get out of it. I struggle to find my voice and let that affect me too much when completing the write-ups.

In the podcast’s newest episode, it was refreshing to hear from multiple sources that other people struggle with the same things as me! Although the scenarios are slightly different, I could relate to the thoughts and feelings that were expressed about the blogging process. It was beyond encouraging to hear how these obstacles were overcome and a reminder that I need to simply keep writing.

On that note, I have tried to start journaling recently and also struggle with finding my voice there. I think part of it is that I expect to just be great at it, and then when I hit that mental wall, I am not tenacious enough to find a way over it. I must remind myself that it is like most things in life and that the best way to get better at it is to practice it! Journal entries are not going to be perfect, and I don’t need to make them so. They are intended to be the creative outlet for the randomness going on inside my head, and if I just stick with it, I will get better at it.

Time to Step up Training

The other episode focused on a trail I plan to hike in the next two months – The Foothills Trail. Hearing Chaunce talk in-depth about the trail was refreshing and filled in some gaps that I have yet to research. However, it also serves as a wake-up call. I am already planning to go West to East because I had heard that this is the best way to save the big climbs for the last two days. But I was under the impression that the start would be a lot easier than it appears to be. Hearing her talk about the trail in the podcast was just the kickstart I needed to make sure I start better preparing for the trail.

My training for the Hiker Challenge so far has been…. nonexistent. I was worried going into the Challenge two years ago, and it took a toll on my body on almost every section then. As the year went on, I did improve on each section while hiking and also in the recovery time. Heading into the Challenge this year, I knew what to expect each month and let that help guide me in my preparation. I set a goal to reach 12K steps a day for this year and used that as my primary training. This goal has meant that I have gone on a lot of 2–3-mile walks in the evening and has prepared my legs for my journey so far. I have noticed an improved recovery time from each section, and I am usually only sore for a day afterwards.

But this plan will not cut it for the Foothills Trail and if I want to fully prepare, I need to start training better. I have had a lot of success in the past with routinely running the stairs in my house throughout the day, and I plan to restart this exercise. I usually do a set of 5-6 climbs, 4-5 times throughout the day. I am also now a member of the YMCA, which will allow me to train on equipment such as the stair climber or elliptical. I have used both of these equipment types previously and noticed significant improvement in running and my overall endurance. I was kind of forced to join the Y to register my youngest daughter for summer camps, so I might as well make full use of it!

What is to Come

I still need to finish the write-up for Section 3, which I hiked a week and a half ago. I always keep a Trail Observations document during my hikes, filling it out in the tent each night. So now it is just a matter of converting this random jumble of thoughts into a coherent blog post. I will have this recap out in the next few days (hopefully), but by Tuesday next week at the latest!

The next section of the Hiker Challenge is coming up this weekend, and this one is one of the most mentally challenging sections of the entire trail. You will understand why in the recap!

The Foothills Trails is also sneaking up on me, faster than I like!

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