Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good Enough Isn't Good Enough

I have had a lot going on.  Lots of hikes, a few runs, a swim and a lot of laughter.

Sunday:  This was a week ago.  We hiked up to Dimple Hill via Dan's Trail.  Went with friends and hiked some and ran some.  Had a great time, as always.  Evidently the running was speedy and my trudging up the hills was faster than normal.  I was shooting for a 17 minute average pace.  I got a 16'03" pace!  Woot woot.  That was fun!
Love this picture!  Laughter is the best!  
Wednesday:  I swam.  The pool has just moved the bulkhead so now instead of 25 yards you have to swim 50 yards for one length.  I did 9 full laps in 30 minutes and had to do one more to make it an even 10 laps.  I went 1,000 yards in 32 minutes.  Eight laps is .5 miles.  So I did at least .6 miles.  A bit faster than last week.

Truth is that on Wednesday I was having a bad day with my attitude.  I felt defeated, left out, fat, blah, blah, blah.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I didn't want to go swim.  I was a weepy, have a pity-party for myself, mess.  I don't know why I felt this way when I have been doing so well in my workouts and in my mental attitude.  I guess I had a relapse.

But I went.  And worked it out in the water.  And I felt better.  Not completely improved but better.

Not only that but I wore a one piece suit that is meant for swimming laps instead of my swim skirt and swim top that are intended to hide fat and bulging areas.  I felt WAY out of my comfort zone and very exposed.  It was nice to swim without the drag of the other suit.  I guess I'll get used to it eventually.

Thursday:  I did a short run.  I ran as fast as I could handle and when my heart rate got too high I walked for a bit.  I ran .8 miles and stopped and said hi to a friend.  Then I ran to 1.5 miles and walked until I got to 1.75 miles.  I started running again and got to 2.0 miles.  Then I walked home the last .75 miles for a total of 2.75 miles.  This was a mile of walking and 1.75 of running.  My overall pace was 13'11"  which tells me that even though I walked a large part of the distance, when I was running I was moving right along.  That felt good.

Saturday:  I did the Willamette Mission Park 5k Trail Run on Saturday with my friend Shannon.  It was her first ever trail run.  We had a great time laughing and talking during the run.  I'm SUPER proud of her!  This was WAY out of her comfort zone and once again, just like the 10k in January, she let me talk her into it.  She rocks and I am very proud of her.
Me and the fabulous Shannon!  Did I mention that I am proud of this lady?  :-)
Sunday:  Joe and a bunch of people were going to do an open water swim at Foster Lake.  I had to be in Bend by 3:30 to check in for a conference that I was going to for work.  I decided to find a hike to do somewhere along the way.  This way I could keep my hike streak alive and have an adventure by going somewhere new.  I wanted something that wasn't terribly long, was popular so that there would be lots of people around since I would be alone, and was doable for me.

I found lots of hikes that I want to do eventually but the one I decided on was the hike to the top of Black Butte.  This is a four mile hike, round trip and is very popular.  The elevation gain was about 1,600 feet so I knew it was doable but it would be difficult for me.  The weather was supposed to be clear and sunny so I decided to take my big Nikon camera in a nice camera bag I have.  I wanted to get some awesome pictures of the mountains and see how it felt to hike with the camera bag.  I figured out the directions and took off early Sunday morning.

As I got over the pass and I could see Black Butte in the distance.  Black Butte is a very large cinder dome that is used as a fire lookout during the forest fire season.  As it got closer, it looked bigger and bigger and I started to get a nervous feeling in my stomach.  Uh oh.  What if I bit off more than I can chew.
I was planning on climbing to the top of that hill! Yikes!
There are no signs on the highway directing people to the trail head.  I turned near a campground, went a few miles and then turned onto a gravel forest service road.  It had a lot of ruts and I had to go slow.  I followed this road for more than five miles and was beginning to wonder if I was in the wrong place when I came to the trail head.  I paid the day use fee and got ready.  I texted Joe to let him know I had arrived and was heading out.
Five miles of gravel road.
This sign was about two miles down the gravel road.  I think I knew by then it was a rough road!
Here we go.
The first quarter of a mile I was already struggling.  The higher elevation was making breathing hard and I was frustrated about how slow I was going even though it hadn't gotten terribly steep yet.  I kept reminding myself that it's harder to breath at high elevations and that's why I was struggling.
When I got done with the first mile it started getting really hard.

I had to stop and catch my breath and let my heart rate go down.

I had to do that a lot.

Every time I stopped I took some pictures.  Either with my phone or with my camera.  I got some beautiful pictures of the trail and of the Sisters.
View from the trail!
After the first mile the trail gets even steeper.  I was stopping more and more often.  I was really struggling and going very slowly.  My heart rate kept spiking up to over 180 and I was frustrated because everything seemed so difficult.  After all my progress and successful hikes, I could barely make it up a two mile hill.

I had some very nice pictures of the Sisters and the trail.  I could have quit and headed back to the car.  I could have decided that what I had done so far was good enough.  I had come beautiful pictures and had struggled quite awhile.  I was by myself.  The only one who would know was me.  The only one that would really care was me.

This was good enough.  I could do better next time.

Except that I wanted better than good enough.

So I kept going.  Stopping often.  Struggling.  But not giving up.

I wanted that view at the top.

I wanted to know I could push through the struggle.

Every time I stopped I took pictures and enjoyed what I was seeing and how far I had come.
The light green patch is Black Butte Ranch.
The trail was steeper and more rocky.
Burned trees from a wildfire in 2009.
The trail got very steep the last half mile and more difficult to navigate.  There were rocks and I had to be careful so that I didn't trip and fall.  The trail moved around the side of the hill and now I had the Sisters behind me and Mt. Hood in front of me.  It was so beautiful.
The Sisters
Mt. Hood
Then I saw the watch tower!  This meant I was close to the top.  But the trail got even steeper.  Geesh!  I was pretty sure I was going to die from either a heart attack or lack of oxygen but I kept going.

And then I made it to the top.


To say that the view was amazing does not begin to do it justice.  I could see mountains and then more mountains to the south, the west and the north.  To the east was the high desert area of Bend and Redmond.
This is only a partial view.  Did I mention Wow?!
It took me over an hour to get to the top.  Two miles in an hour.  Not very impressive.  Except that I did it.  I didn't give up.  I didn't turn around and go back to the car.

I earned my view and pictures at the top.  I took pictures and soaked in the sunshine for almost 30 minutes before I started back down.
Three Finger Jack
Mt. Jefferson
Mt. Hood
The Sisters
More of the Sisters.  What can I say, they are beautiful!
The Watchtower. 
Mt. Washington
The original home for the rangers manning the watch tower. 
I made it to the top!
Down had some difficulties too.  I'm a little afraid of heights and going down is hard because I can see the trail and then I can see all the nothing around it.  It makes me have a little bit of vertigo so I am almost as slow going down as coming up because of that.  But breathing is better and the heart rate isn't going ballistic so that was a plus.
I was about half a mile down and I see a guy running up.  He is wearing a Cascade Lakes shirt.  I'm wearing mine too so I say, "Nice shirt!"  He looks up and smiles as he runs by and says, "I like yours too!" and keeps going.  Wow, I wish I could run like that up this trail.

There were a lot more people coming up the hill now.  I had it almost to myself on the way up but now it is later in the day and a lot of people are starting the hike.  Everyone was friendly and said hi. A few times when I stopped to let people go by or they stopped to let me go by I would chit chat for a bit.  People on the trail always seems to be friendly.
These little flowers came out as the sun got warmer.
They looked like they were growing out of a dead bush.
I have a feeling that all that dead bush will be beautiful white flowers in a few days!  That will be a sight to see. 
I was about a mile from the top when my Cascade Lakes running friend came running past me on his way back down.  In the half mile I had walked since I saw him heading to the top, he had made the top and come back down to pass me.  Wow again!  This guy was fast.

The last half mile the trail gets easier to navigate and not as steep.  I decided to try to speed up a bit and began a slow jog.  I didn't set any speed records but was able to do a steady trot down to the start of the trail.
It's amazing how dirty my feet get.
A few wet wipes later I felt a bit cleaner.
When I was struggling up the hill I did a lot of thinking.  I even shared my deep thoughts with my students today.

I had a goal.  The goal was to get to the top and take great pictures of the mountains.

There were times along the way that I could have said that the pictures I had, the views I had seen were good enough and headed back.  Good enough isn't a bad thing.  I had beautiful pictures and seen gorgeous views.

But that wasn't enough.  I wanted to see what the view was at the top.  I wanted to reach my goal.  So I kept going.

The view at the top was breathtaking.  It was amazing.  I was so thankful that I didn't settle for good enough.  That I didn't settle. That I believed in myself enough to push through the difficult stuff and earn the reward.

Good enough wasn't good enough.

I earned spectacular.  And I got it.

Pretty good lesson for life I think.

Are you settling for good enough?  Or are you pushing through the difficulties in order to reach the spectacular?  You can do it!!  Keep going!  Earn your spectacular!  It will be worth it and it will help you during future difficulties because you will know that the spectacular is coming.

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