Things I tell myself

It’s about believing in yourself

Self-motivation is a key to doing just about anything in life but is particularly useful when hiking. It’s no secret that hiking is not always easy. You can expect things like crying for a verity of reasons, pain just about everywhere, and constantly questioning why you are there. It’s a mental challenge as much as it is a physical challenge.

I have always been one for Silver Linings and optimism. Now, that does not mean that I don’t struggle with my own brine telling me I cant do things and trying its hardest to un-motivate me and bring me down. Its always been an uphill battle for me when it comes to my own self-worth and power. Hiking gives me power and confidences, and I refuse for my mental health issues to take that from me. I use mantras and motivational sayings to keep me going when every other part of me wants to stop. 

These are the things I tell myself when I need motivation and empowerment 

1. Standing on top of mountains

“I put myself here. I hiked up and down the trail. Scrambled up rocks and over tree limbs. My legs hurt and my lungs burned. I felt the hot sun and cold winds on my skin. I put myself here out of my own straight and will.”

2.Walking down mountains

“I put myself up here, and I can take myself down”

3.When in pain or struggling mentally or when I realize I have so little time before I’m on trial.

“I’ve got this”

“I can do this”

“I’m okay”

“One step at a time”

“Just keep going”

“Keep moving forward”

I’m walking so I can overcome the hard moments and experience the amazing ones.

A little cadence

I also like to make up very bad turns when I’m walking along and have nothing to do (I once sang a song about tiny bird legs for about 40 minutes while walking on a beach). So because of my love keeping my mind busy and fun little tunes, I have come up with a little walking cadence. It may not be the best, but I feel it will help me mentally as things get rough and tough on trial.

“I could walk 2000 miles

I could walk them with all smiles

With these trekking poles in hand

I’m gonna go a trekking, man

Down these trails and up these mountains

I’m just gonna keep on travelin’

With these feet, ill make it all the way

F#*k this pain

I’m making it to Main” 

As my time before I start gets shorter and shorter

I am preparing myself for what might happen on my hike. I know that thru-hiking the AT is no small feat and every day will bring its own and new challenges.I know I will have days where I won’t want to move and I will question my self harshly. I also know I will have days where I feel unstoppable and stronger and happier then I have ever felt. I’m excited about new things I will experiences and the challenges I cant ever imagine.  The uncertainty, and unknown, and the things I will learn from them. All I can do is except that I will have some very hard days and some mind-blowingly amazing days. With the trail as my guide and my mind and body ready to take in all that it can, I’m excited to see what is to come.

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Comments 3

  • Brandon Chase : Jan 10th

    Mantras are key! I use them all the time when running ultramarathons to keep myself to a cadence and take my mind off the pain/heat/whatever. You’ll do great!

  • Ruth morley : Jan 15th

    Katie, your post had some great ideas. I really like the self-affirmations for when you reach a peak and for descending. And your little walking cadence rhyme is super! Mind if I borrow it?

    I’m going through a lot of self doubts right now, as I await my late April resumption on the trail. Severe tendonitis in both feet stopped me last year after 500 miles. I’m doing everything I can right now to strengthen and prepare my body for finishing the trail this year, but I know what challenges lay before me. Your post gave me more tools as my disposal. Thank you!

    • Katie : Feb 20th

      Hey Ruth,
      You can totally use my little cadence and I hope training is going well for you. I know you and your feet are going to rock the trial this year and I hope I get the chance to run into you on trial.


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