#100bravethings Project # 25
A lot of people would call it a failure.
She bombed it.
She didn’t even finish.
In fact someone even said to me, it’s going to be hard to tell people that you didn’t finish it. I very quickly replied, not at all. I’m going to write an entire blog about it. I don’t just show up for the rainbows and butterflies. I show up for the hard stuff too. I share the real and the raw. I’ve grown accustomed to peeling off my armour piece by piece and sharing the good, the bad, the heart breaking beautiful, the ugly, the ups and downs. All of it. This isn’t a highlight reel, it’s real life .
The old me, the 2016 version of me (prior to the start of my personal growth journey), she would have been mortified. She would have been so embarrassed, shoulders shrugged awkwardly, the weight of shame pulling her head down to the ground. Truth be told that version of me likely wouldn’t have had the guts to even try. The possibility of not being able to finish and others finding out would have been too much of a risk. She would have stayed comfortable and desperate, quietly on the sidelines of her one and only life before she would have been willing to risk failing at anything.
I’m so grateful that something inside of me back then stirred!
I’m so grateful that being safe and comfortable suddenly became less important. I’m so grateful that I decided that I wanted more for my life because it has led me down the most beautiful path. In fact in led me to the Fundy Footpath this past week for #100bravethings project #25; although I’m not sure I’d describe this particular extravaganza as beautiful.
It was the most demanding physical challenge I’ve ever embarked upon. The terrain was rough, the roughest I’ve ever hiked by far. The inclines had us bear climbing at times; our hands wrapped tightly around roots and trees or whatever we could grab a hold of. Sweat poured off my body like it never had before. My hair dripped like I’d just emerged from a steaming shower and beads of glistening sweat rolled down my cheeks. In reality though I was climbing a mountain; a really freaking audacious, lofty, crazy mountain.
I survived day one and it was no doubt the hardest I’ve ever pushed myself physically!
Mid way through the second day though I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the hike. I desperately wanted to keep going but my pace was dwindling as I limped; my body aching all over. I was slowing us down. My right ankle, which I previously broke, the one that was held together with plates and screws was swelling, my plantar fasciitis was flaring and I twisted my left knee. My first ever UTI showed up uninvited too. I was a hot mess; an actual hot, sweaty, sticky, gross, dirty mess. I was in pain. What really rang the alarm bells though was when my right thigh from my knee up to my hip went numb and my hands began trembling. That’s when I called it. That’s when I had to be brave enough to admit that I wouldn’t be able to finish the entire hike. Turns out the numbness in my leg was one of the first symptoms of lyme disease; I had been bit by a tick. (shudder- so gross).
Some would call it a failure.
Just a few years ago I would have been one of those people. I don’t really see failure the same way anymore though. To me failure isn’t just black and white like I used to see it. It’s what paves the path of every epic story, success and triumph. It’s just what happens along the way.
This is how I see it: I showed up. I tried. I was willing to risk the possibility of failure. It was the hardest I’ve ever pushed myself physically, the craziest mountain I ever attempted and the roughest terrain I’ve ever climbed. I didn’t even know my body could sweat that much. I had a pretty good idea that roughing it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea and I was right about that. I hate being dirty and I love being able to jump in the shower and wash away the day with hot soapy water.
My Real Life Super Hero!
Calling it when I did was hard; really hard but I felt like if I kept going I might need an actual rescue team to come in and get me out of there. I called it in enough time and my real life superhero husband was able to find me in the middle of nowhere on a road attached to many other roads all of which didn’t have names and weren’t on maps! In reality they weren’t even roads at all; they were actually ATV trails. My only goal going in was to not need to be airlifted out and well, red check mark to that and a happy face sticker too! I was worried when I was out there that I might never want to hike again but I’m already planning my next hiking challenge. It’s not going to involve any overnights though. At least not for now. I think the 89 bug bites, twisted knee, swollen ankle, bloody blisters, one flat tire, UTI, tick bite and lyme disease was enough to hold me over for a while! It was an adventure I won’t forget though and it showed me that I can push myself much harder that I have been.
Backpacking Tips from an Amateur who has no idea what she’s doing!
- Where long pants and tuck in to socks- keep ticks out!
- Don’t go during heat wave.
- Train hard and then train some more.
- Don’t put tent up on a slant or hill.
- Don’t try to pee in the dark without your flashlight (trust me on this one).
- Listen to your gut when you think something is wrong.
Proud of these two who stayed with me until I was rescued and finished the trail the following evening.