August 27, 2020

Trading Medals For Mountaintop Views

This crazy pandemic forced everyone to change their routine.

For some, a one-hour work commute has turned into a 30 step walk from your bedroom to your dining room table.

Or maybe you’ve spiced up your cooking skills since dining out is disrupted.

Perhaps you learned how to color your hair at home and give yourself a manicure and a pedicure.

Undoubtedly, gym closings forced you to get creative with your cardio and strength training routines.

And as some of these things slowly return to “normal,” maybe the new normal has become your happy place.

I’ve been embracing “the new normal” for years because it’s how I can continue along and still feel happy and in charge.

And here’s something pretty cool about “the new normal.” 

If you accept it willingly, you might find you honestly love it.

I am a runner. A marathon runner. An ULTRA marathon runner!

For close to 2 years, knee pain has nagged me. So much so, that I’ve essentially been unable to run. 

Oh, how I miss those endorphins and the long training runs, chatting with my girls. I miss having scheduled races on my calendar to keep me focused and have a purpose. I miss that feeling of pushing hard and giving my body the ultimate physical and mental workout. I miss the cheering crowds, the finish line, and the kindred spirits.

Lately, I am starting to rethink the words that flow off the tip of my tongue. 

“I am a runner.” 

Truthfully, I was a runner.

Now, I am a hiker.

Do not feel sorry for me.

Plan B does not upset me. 

Honestly, I’m overjoyed!

Here’s what I love about my new normal.

Solo hikes flood my quiet mind with ideas and inspiration.

Hiking up the side of a mountain gives me the same rush of endorphins that I sought out and depended on to keep me running.

And a bonus?

I have met some of the coolest people on the trails. Yes, marathon runners are cool too, but we runners are always on a mission for the finish line and rarely enjoy the journey there. We obsess over our net time and race to qualify for something other than bragging rights. Hikers don’t pause their watch to marvel over a view, take photos of a colorful mushroom, or chat with a fellow hiker. The sights, scents, sounds, and fellow travelers are an essential part of the experience.

Just last week, I met a family of 6 on the trail. I heard children talking and singing, and around the corner came “Angel Wings.” A beautiful little girl, dressed in Disney costume, hiking like a boss. Following behind were her brothers, “Blaze” and “Boomerang.” Over a quick conversation, I learned that mom and dad are doctors at a hospital in Africa and are on a nine-month sabbatical to come here and hike the AT. They had hiked over 1,400 miles since they started in March! Mind you, these kiddos are 11, 9, 7, and 4! The 4-year old whose trail name is “The Beast” walked all 1,400 miles using her own 2 feet. Folks like this inspire me. I mean, how could I not want to be in the company of people like this? 

Trail marathons were always my favorite. It combined my love of nature, adventure, and exercise.

These days, my knee is feeling pretty awesome.

But I’m not sold on lacing up my running shoes again. 

You see, hiking and trail running are not all that different. 

The only thing hiking doesn’t give you is the medal. 

But, there’s the challenge, the peace, the cool people and the views.

And no stopwatch.

And you know what?

I have tons of medals.

Now, I’m all about collecting spectacular views.  

Cheers to the new normal!

Exercise, Healthy Mind and Body, Mindset , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Susan Wheeler
About Susan Wheeler
Mom of 4😊7 grands❤️ultra runner 🏃‍♀️natural health strategist🍇writer 🌶organic farm owner🥕

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