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I Faced My Mountain

I faced my mountain today.

My stress level lately has been through the roof. I feel as if I don't have a lot of control over a lot of aspects in my life. It's as if things are just swirling around me, and I am grabbing to try to get a grasp of the swirling circumstances.

After a tumultuous week, I came to the realization that instead of focusing on the swirling mass that I can't control, I need to focus on things that I can control. And here comes the Mountain.

I'm a novice trail runner. I'm extremely directionally challenged. I can't really read a map. And I'm clumsy.  I have only ever run a very short loop of trails by myself. I've been way too scared to attempt anything 'major' on my own.

But there is this Mountain, the red trail, described as the most difficult, the most challenging, and it climbs to the highest peak of the trails that I've been running... my Mountain.

And as the week has progressed, I've had this burning desire to take on this Mountain. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe it is...maybe I am... but this Mountain became something more than a difficult trail, it became all of my emotional struggles rolled into one... my Mountain.

There are two things that I never run without - my garmin and my pepper spray. As I pulled into the parking area of the trail area, my garmin didn't take a charge when I charged it. The battery was totally gone. And I realized I didn't have my pepper spray. I almost went home. This is crazy right? I mean why do I really need to do this? But I called Hubby to see if he thought it would be ok to run without my pepper spray. He wasn't pleased that I didn't have it, but he said he thought I would be ok.

I began running. Within the first quarter mile, a small furry animal had already spooked me. But I'd been on this trail before so I kept going. I kept saying, blue to yellow to red. But then somehow I lost blue and I came upon another color. What? I was lost. Really? I was barely a mile into the run and I was already lost. I got out my map, turned around and found the blue trail, the familiar one. And I almost went back to the start - just call it a day. Staying with the familiar would be so much easier.

But to my left, I saw the yellow trail. Yellow brings me to red. Red takes me to the top. It looked as though it hadn't been run in awhile. In fact, after I started running it, I wasn't even sure at times it was a trail since the weeds were as high as my chest.

Unfamiliar, uncharted, never been here before, and alone - I ran.  And I went higher and higher and higher.

And then I came to red. The one that would take me to the top.

And as I kept climbing on red, I still doubted if I was going the right way. I had to keep reassuring myself with the trail markings that this was where I was supposed to be. 

Finally I came into the clearing! I had made it to the top! But my journey wasn't over. I had to find the trail on the other side. I was still in very much unfamiliar territory. 

This part of the red trail was very rocky. It was beautiful. I stopped to pick up a small rock to keep as a souvenir. I wanted something to remember this run. This one is a monumental one. 

I got a little turned around and lost sight of the trail and had to back track. But I found my way back to red and back to the second clearing of the power lines. As I was re-entering the woods, a small bird flew out of a nearby bush. I screamed so loud that it echoed. Then I let out a little nervous laugh. And honestly, I think I picked up the pace a little. :) 

I followed red to lavender to green back to the entrance. The run was around 5.5 - 6 miles. But this run wasn't about mileage or time. 

Just like finishing the marathon, finishing this run was a monumental one. The woman who entered the trail wasn't the same woman who came out. 

I faced my Mountain. I faced my fear of being alone in unfamiliar territory. I faced my fear of the unknown. I overcame the idea of turning around and taking the easy way out. I forced myself into a place I'd never been. 

I am much stronger than I give myself credit. 

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  1. Great post Amy! Wonderful description of your trail run, super photos and inspiring. Love the strong ending :)

  2. You did great! I love the write of your best! :)

  3. Oh yes! The hyper awareness of running on the trails alone. Especially new trails! It occupies the mind like nothing else. In fact, there is no room for any other swirling thoughts for that hours or so.
    You did good. The fact that you were nervous to run the red trail in the first place but then to run it alone is just awesome. Sometimes it's just what you need. Run-on!

    1. It was a run I won't remember that's for sure!


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