To My Body, An Apology

I understand that this letter is long overdue. I thought that giving you three weeks of space and time away would help with the healing, but now I see that you’re still hurting, still protesting the rest of this journey we are on together. You used to be so optimistic back in the beginning, even when times were hard. But I know it was me that pushed you.

So I’m sorry, okay? I really am. I’m sorry for buying shoes that were too small, and the blisters that ensued. I’m sorry for being too lazy to apply sunscreen and bug spray, and for not protecting you in the ways I know I should. I’m sorry for skipping over water sources simply because I don’t want to stop and filter, getting your hopes up that a stream is ‘just a few miles away.’ I know some of those miles felt like marathons for you. And I’m sorry that sometimes my planning was a little careless with the resupplies, and that you were left with just crumbs when you were really asking for a feast.

And you deserve a feast, which is what I tried to give you in town. But I’m sorry for letting you down in that department, too. I truly thought you wanted all the hamburgers and ice cream and beer. I didn’t know what you really needed was… how did you say it? ‘Nutrients,’ I think? I’m sorry for encouraging you to gorge, even when you said you were already full. But for the record, I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I really am so proud of you for the half gallon challenge. You are a champion in my eyes.

I’m sorry for taking so long to replace the shoes the first time. Everyone said that trail runners couldn’t last 800 miles, but I don’t know… I guess I thought we could defy the odds. Once again, I didn’t see how that would affect you in the long run. I couldn’t possibly foresee the Achilles pain and the swollen heel. And I know your knee and hip got bad after that, too, from the limping. But that’s all in the past, right? It seems like they don’t bother you too badly if I can get the pack weight down.

I really was thinking about you with the weight. That’s why I sent home the cold weather gear in Tennessee. How was I to know it was going to be the coldest night of the entire hike the very next day? And about those cold nights… I’m sorry that the sleeping bag I bought off Amazon was cheap, and that you shivered so much in those freezing temperatures. To be honest, you can be a little confusing sometimes. No offense, but you complain when it’s too cold and you complain when it’s too hot. I got you that fancy 15 degree bag from REI, but now you’re all, ‘it’s too sweaty and sticky.’ You have to know I’m trying here. I really am.

I’m sorry about comparing you to others, and for saying that I wish your legs were longer. I’m sorry for the time I called you stubby, and that other time I called you lazy, and for pushing you to do 28 miles just because everyone else was doing it. You are unique in your own way, and are only capable of so much. I know I shouldn’t have gotten mad that some people run the trail when you can barely walk it, but in my defense, it was a bit childish when you sat down in the middle of the trail and simply refused to go at all.

Oh, and I’m sorry about the heat rash, chafing, infected hangnail, catching noro virus, the scrapes, bruises, bloating, dehydration, lack of sleep, shin splints, stubbed toes, and plantar fasciitis.

Listen, all I’m asking is that you give this another shot. Stick this out with me for another month and a half, and I will make it up to you with whatever you want. I promise. Massages, warm bubble baths, days on the couch eating takeout? You got it. I look around at all these other bodies giving up, but I know that we have it in us to finish what we started. We will be stronger than ever before.

What do you say?

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Comments 17

  • Avatar
    Al Wilson "Tank" : Aug 24th

    River, I know there’s a lot of seriousness and reality to this post but I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING. This is so very well put!.

    You will succeed! Oh, JUST KEEP SMILING 🙂

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Martha : Aug 24th

    River- this was wonderfully written. So funny! I loved it. Good Luck! I hope to see your other post!!!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Thank you for reading, Martha!! I have a few other posts up 🙂 hoping to get some more writing in soon!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Sherril Mitchell : Aug 24th

    Welcome back to the “grind”. I was worried that you might have decided to take a longer break after your few weeks off the trail. Of course it made it harder when you had so many interesting things to do to give your mind and body a break.
    Did you question yourself when you were really back on the trail and facing 28 miles
    in front of you?
    I wish you luck on your travels and will be anxiously waiting for your wonderful journals. I feel that I can see myself walking with you when I read them.
    I wish you sunny skys and smooth trails. Sherril Mitchell

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Hi! I’m happy to be back on trail. The break was great, but I was itching to get back to hiking. The time I did 28 miles was back in Virginia. Lately, I’ve been hiking under 10 miles a day! New Hampshire and Maine sure have been tough. Thank you for following along with the journey!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Rachael Upchurch : Aug 25th

    This was awesome!!!! Thanks for the laugh and good luck on the rest of your trek!!! 😛

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      I’m glad you got a laugh out of it! I did too 🙂 laughing makes it all easier! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Backfire : Aug 25th

    I laughed my ass off at this one. Keep going, you’ve got this.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Thanks, Backfire!! I laughed writing it. It’s good to laugh at yourself, right?

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Mr Maps : Aug 25th

    Classic post!
    Good stuff, keep it coming

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Becky : Aug 27th

    This is my favorite

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Thanks Becky! Glad you liked it!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Marie Burman : Sep 1st

    This is such a beautiful heartfelt piece of writing. Thank you for writing it. I will make sure my daughter Carolyn Burman (another thru-hiker) sees this. She is at mile 1670ish and started in Georgia April 11th. She is also a blogger. I really enjoyed reading your story.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Hi Marie!! She must be pretty close to me then. Does she have a trail name? You must be so proud of her. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Mike D. : Sep 1st

    That was hilarious Casie. You can do this! I am a Mainer sitting at my office desk laughing at this letter you wrote. You will love our state. One step at a time!!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Casie Frederick : Sep 6th

      Thanks Mike!! I’m actually from the Bangor area. I’m loving southern Maine so far!

      Reply

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