Today I didn’t want to get out bed. Like two positive magnets being forced together, my body clung to the safety of my sheets but my mind impatiently pulled in the opposite direction knowing it was time. It was time to get up and against all odds, I got up, made my bed, and found myself splayed out on the couch under a blanket with my eyes closed. I had made it a measly 20 steps from my bed and although some might consider this an epic fail, I considered it a small victory. Who knows how long I actually fell back asleep but at some point the roar of my stomach cracked my eyelids open. Get. Up. Ignoring the impending text I would later send to him saying, [insert whining tone] “I’m starving!!!!” I pulled myself up off the couch, threw on some shorts, pulled out my cobweb wrapped running shoes, found a hat and my headphones and trudged out of the house. Against all odds, I was running…in the heat of the day. I haven’t been on a run since returning from Everest, roughly 12 months ago, and for whatever reason today felt like the day to give it a shot. Who am I to argue with the Universe on this one?
I didn’t have a plan or a goal except to put one foot in front of the other in a sustainable cadence as long as my body would allow me to do so…pain free that is. It has been a little over a year since I dragged and clawed my feet onto the roof of the world, Mt. Everest, 29,034ft above the clouds. Watching the 2017 Everest climbing season come and go, I was torn between a deep longing to return to the only place I feel “normal” and the relief of watching the progress of friends from the comfort of my own bed. Celebrating those who fulfilled their dreams on that mountain this year, I can’t help but relive my own expedition. I recall the moment when my dream had become a reality-I became the woman I wanted to be and the woman I knew I already was. I felt proud. I felt honored. I laughed and I cried. Despite all of those emotions all I really wanted on that summit was to come home safe and quite frankly forget about the entire expedition. Summiting Mt. Everest will go down as one of the monumental achievements of my life…but what happens next?
What’s next? The question we all hate to be asked. Why is it once you achieve something in your life like a promotion, marriage, purchase a home, graduate, have a child etc. that the following question is always, “What’s next?” Why do we feel the need to always ask each other about the future instead of focusing on the present? Life tends to focus on the triumphs and victories, the “summits”, yet we rarely acknowledge the letdowns or the setbacks. No one ever asks me how I am today – just what mountain is next? Well today, and for the last 12 months, I have been dealing with a mysterious chronic hip pain that is a pretty shitty souvenir of what I accomplished in 2016. Every time I sit, stand, walk, jump, run, or laydown I have a constant irritatingly reminder of the dreams I have been chasing and the toll they have taken on my body. Perhaps instead of always focusing the next thing in our lives we pause and focus on what we need today, because it’s impossible to move forward if you can’t move at all. As I sit here and wait for a MRI I can’t help but challenge you to acknowledge how you are feeling today. What ails you? What are you secret hiccups you keep hidden from the world? Perhaps instead of only sharing the “summits” in our lives we share our actual lives – no matter how ugly.
Today is National Running Day – maybe that’s why I felt the undeniable pull of the universe to get out of bed and onto the trails. I only ran 1.68 miles and it took longer than I care to admit and not because I was tired, but because every stride was a battle I had to fight hard for. It wasn’t pretty it was painful but it was a run, and I couldn’t be happier.