Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Am I crazy?
What makes me think that I can run/hike/trek/waddle/or crawl 560 miles in 14 days, with a warmup of 8 miles the day before the real adventure begins? But actually, the new data says the mileage is really 597. That's not the kind of news flash I was looking for. I just had a friend ask, "Do you think you'll have to walk at all?" Seriously? Can you tell they aren't a trail runner? No matter the style or speed of pedestrianizing, that's a long, long way in a relatively short period of time.
There are five of us, one other girl and three guys, who are planning on traversing all the miles of the Appalachian Trail that reside within Virginia's borders. If you aren't familiar with the area, that means mountains, a lot of big, tough mountains. The Trail has a habit of going up and down, up and down, over and over again. Sure, there are great views along the way, but each one has to be earned by innumerable foot plants.
Why? Why not choose to flit away the summer in the refreshing waters of my backyard pool? To be honest, I'm not sure. I love doing that! But each of us probably has a different answer. For me, my longest adventures have been about 300 trail miles in a week. When this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance to push the boundaries of what is possible for me. But now that it is two days and counting, the reality of what I signed up for is hitting me like a brick dropped from the Empire State building.
I've probably trained more consistently for this adventure than any other. Still, I'm not a poster-child for the high-mileage club--and never will be. I'm a 55-year old woman, not that I want to use age or gender as an excuse. It always seems like I have an ache or pain of some sort. The temperatures are supposed to be hovering around the 100 degree mark with high humidity to boot. Heat eats me alive. Water sources may be slim, making the task of being self-sufficient over 32 - 46 miles challenging, to say the least. From experience, I expect tendons to get crunchy and feet to swell after a few days. My eyes will droop more than normal from lack of sleep and good old-fashioned fatigue. But. . .
There's always a but. My "but" is simply that I thrive on learning lessons about pain and perseverance, joy in the midst of suffering, and tackling what most think is impossible. Is failure possible? Sure. A rattlesnake could strike, a bone could break, or the body could refuse to participate any longer. Still, I can't explain the quiet confidence I have in covering the distance. It doesn't make sense but I believe it to be true.
After Friday, June 29, I will take a sabbatical from blogging until I return home in mid-July. I don't dare take on any more pressure to find the means to do so after a long, hard day. I will need every ounce of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to make it through. I will try to post on Facebook from my phone as coverage (and batteries) allow. My husband, Gary, will also post updates after speaking with me on what we hope to be daily check-ins.
If you care to see where we will be, check out our itinerary. If we are passing through your area, feel free to come join us for a spell. And it almost goes without saying that an ice-cold soda or raspberry tea would be a fabulous treat!