I spent Memorial Day weekend in Bend, OR with lots of friends in a real big house. We played games, laughed a lot, sang to guitars, ate really good food, drank all the wine, and climbed Black Butte Mountain. The entire weekend was exactly what I needed – a nice respite from the city/work life and much needed time with good people. Hiking Black Butte was also the literal and figurative mental/emotional mountain I needed to climb.
After a big breakfast and lots of energizing, pump-up tunes, we all piled in our cars and headed out. It felt like we rounded the mountain for hours looking for the trailhead…some of us even complained about how we were just going to get out of the car and start hiking. The mountain didn’t seem that big. We quickly retracted that miscalculated statement once the climb began.
My calves were on FIRE the entire time. There were moments I thought I was going to throw up the pain was so intense. The hike is moderately difficult, but I failed to stretch out the previous workout’s tight muscles. We took multiple opportunities to stop, rest, and “enjoy nature” (gasp for breath and rub down our tingling legs), but nothing seemed to alleviate the burning.
I pushed through the pain and when we reached the top, I was overwhelmed with gratification and appreciation for the journey. The view was unparalleled to anything I’ve seen. It got me thinking about the recent changes I’ve made in my life and how they, too, are like cresting a mountain. Most recently, my dedication to achieving optimum health and strength came to mind. Though 6 AM workouts that leave me laid out on the floor panting and shaking or multiple trips to the grocery store to get more kale or chia seeds are not my idea of a great time, the reward is great. I feel clear-headed, I feel strong, and I feel healthy.
Once you’ve climbed the mountain and have formed habits around your goals, the gratification you get from your persistence makes it all worth it. Climbing Black Butte reminded me that all of the positive changes I’ve been making are really, really hard most days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything after seeing the view from the top.
What mountains are you climbing lately and what do you do to push through the pain?