Today is April 9th, which marks the first day of the last month of the 35 Trails Project!
In one month, I’ll be 36, which I have many things and nothing to say about. If all my plans line up, I’ll also be finishing up my last trail of this year-long endeavor.
Finally, pro tip: If you are committed to donating to Forest and the Femme, but not necessarily through this project, and you want to win an Arcteryx jacket for your troubles, you can visit this Instagram page to find out how (by April 30th!).
Dreaming the Impossible Dream (And So Forth)
I have lots of big feelings about this project, and the end of it, most of which I will share when it’s actually over. (And at least one of which is, wow, I hate fundraising!)
But today, I was compiling my list of trails, and planning out how I will get to 35 in the next month, and I just can’t get over how my life and body have changed in one year. I still get tired a lot, and have to take more naps than I’d like, so it’s easy to overlook just how much better I am than I was last April. But looking at a concrete list that starts with 3 km hikes and works its way up to trail runs, ski tours, multi-day trips and climbing routes is like watching the past year in fast-forward; like a time lapse of a flower blooming, or the sun rising, or any other cheesy metaphor for things getting better.
I can’t think of a better reason to write things down than this: memories are fickle (especially mine).
Having been sick can be a pain – especially when I have a crash and (inevitably) wallow in worry and self-pity until it lifts. But it can also feel like some sort of super power. A friend was recently telling me about an extremely difficult time in her life, and summed it up in a way that explained some of the more determined aspects of her character: she said she’s already been through the worst life can do, so whatever she’s facing today is something she can handle.
Having been sick is a like a super mellow, low-energy version of that (a version that feels that things will probably worse some day).
After I write this, I’m going to go to a track workout where I will be the slowest runner there, and I will feel a bit dumb about that. And probably a little bit fat and slow, and, if past track workouts are any indication, embarrassed that with all the time that has passed since I started running, I’m not better than I am (and also a little bit irritated with those really friendly, really fast runners who insist on cheering me on as they lap me).
But inevitably, whenever I have these feelings, I think back to the first yoga class I attended when I started to feel better, just over a year ago. The yoga class, and the many that followed, where I would do a pose or maybe two, disintegrate into a sweaty, shaky mess and spend the rest of the hour in child’s post, feeling grateful that I had made it to yoga at all. And then I can’t help but feel so grateful that I get to do this at all.
I don’t think this way because I’m so full of gratitude and zen feelings. (Mostly I’m a ball of anxiety that is learning to use the anxiety to achieve greater productivity so that I can assign a higher value to myself…which I am working on – do not recommend.)
It happens reflexively, without my even trying. Like a built-in mini-meditation that my body is now programmed to play out every time I want to feel bad about myself. And sometimes, I really want to! Maybe this is resilience. Or at least, a seedling version of it.
One More Month, Seven More Trails
So, what’s in store for this next month, you might be wondering? I have 7 trails left, which now that I’m trail running again, isn’t as daunting as it sounds. But on top of a few trail runs, I have some fun stuff planned:
Sunshine Coast Trail
Four years ago, before all this weird health business, I hiked the Juan de Fuca trail over Easter weekend with a group of friends. This Easter weekend, one of those friends and I will be hiking a small portion of the Sunshine Coast Trail, which was on my list of must-do trails this year.
I can’t think of a better way to close out a year of trails in support of getting women outside than to get outside with a group of women. Once again, my awesome girlfriends came through, and at least one (possibly more) hikes in the next month will be with a group of women of mixed hiking experience.
Either on the weekend before my birthday or the day of (or both), I’ll be planning a fun birthday hike with friends! Stay tuned…