When we lived in California, Brian and I went on a hike with a group out in the Redwoods.
This proposed 9-10 mile hike took us a few miles to start because we couldn’t find the trail, then seemed to be progressing rather rapidly downhill.
Literally. We were walking downhill. All in, we hiked more than 14 miles, and more than the last 7 of those miles were straight uphill. I’m pretty damn fit (and was at the time) and that was one of the most miserable painful 7 miles of my life. I’ve run a half marathon as an avid non-runner, and THAT HIKE constitutes the worst 7 miles of my life.
But … There is a point in a hike like at which you realize you have two choices: you either walk forward, uphill to get out. or you turn back and walk downhill to walk uphill to get out. But either way, you’re walking uphill or you’re not getting out.
There is also a point in a hike at which you realize you have made the choice to continue uphill and finish the hike and you just. gut. it. out. There’s a small burst of energy that puts one foot in front of the other for a little while. A little extra space for a little extra breath. And even though it’s excruciating, you keep going.
Today is one of those days where I’m trying to get a drink from a Camelbak that’s empty, looking uphill at a path that seems insurmountable, and wondering why I started this stupid hike. Wasn’t this thing supposed to be 9 miles of mildly challenging trails lined with waterfalls? Not 14 miles of burning lungs and legs?
Coaches and trainers post a bunch of inspiring things on Facebook, take pictures of themselves doing cool shit on the yoga mat and in the weight room, and slide an arm under the shoulders of clients who need a little help up their personal mountains. And many of us spend an awful lot of time smiling when we’re run down and beat up and ready to quit. But we keep going, because we’ve seen that moment of desperation and know the power that exists when you put one foot in front of the other at the exact moment it seems you can’t.
My dear friend Katie wrote a beautiful blog on how much – as a coach – it is OK to be in this space. And I’m there today.
Legitimately torn down and beat up and pausing in the bathroom between clients and classes to let a tear or five leak out. And I know that I will put one foot in front of the other. Just like I know you will put one foot in front of the other. And that we’ll slide our arms under each others’ shoulders and make it up the hill.
There’s a group of people who will tell you not to tell anyone and “don’t manifest negativity” or some bullshit. And then there are a group of people who will tell you “I see you and your pain. I’m with you.” I prefer those people. I prefer to be those people. So if you’re having a day where you need to hide in the bathroom for a few minutes to let a couple tears leak out? Feel free to swing by, give me a call or come in for your session anyway. I like you just as much if not more than ever when you’re looking uphill, wondering how the hell you got here and not sure if you can keep going.