Nina Spencer

Pride goeth before a fall: Getting back on track

It's official! Only 12 weeks to go until I take on what will probably be the hardest physical challenge of my life (and that's including childbirth!). All that I've spoken with, who have done the climb of Kilimanjaro, say this is so...that it was the hardest physical thing they ever did; but also the most physically exhilarating.

I'm getting ready and I'm getting psyched! Since I committed on June 18th, 2010, I've hiked 300K and have only suffered one physical injury setback, and that happened, not on the trail as one might guess, but rather--klutzy me--tripping over something in my bedroom--my husband. No just kidding about that. It was pillows, if you can believe how silly that is...but true. I tripped over pillows. That careless stumble set me back three weeks of training, for I injured my IT band (ilio-tibial) on my left leg.

Saturday, October 16, 2010, was my first serious hike in three weeks. We hiked a demanding part of Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Ontario, which is part of the famous and spectacular 800 kilometres of Bruce Trail. All Saturday morning and afternoon-6 hours worth-we had a tough time keeping our "eyes on our fries", for it was just way too easy and seductive to keep looking out over the stunning vistas of a turquoise Georgian Bay (instead of down at our feet and the next step). Blue Mountain, supported by the grandeur of Georgian Bay, was a breathtaking and uplifting way to start back, indeed. And all this on a warm autumn day so gloriously awash with golden sunshine it just made everyone feel good to be alive.

I confess, I was getting quite cocky about my physical fitness and my ability to take on, with great agility, any Ontario hike I'd planned. This past Saturday, however, was humbling for me and provided great insight, too. "Pride goeth before a fall" has never been more appropriate an expression (for me) than this past month or so, for, while I was full of vim, vigour and great stamina before my stumble of three weeks ago, by this past Saturday--in only three weeks!--I was seriously out of shape. Man, it was all I could do to keep up for three quarters of the climb. My wind was gone. My heart thumped and thudded most of the time, and the glow I had from all this looked like it belonged to one of the hottest days of summer, not the middle of fall. Even my kneecaps were glistening. This was very new and humbling to me. Noting this, I was quiet most of the way, just contemplating the flood of insights bombarding me from this truth. I fear I may have presented to my fellow Kili climbing buddies as atypically anti-social, but it was just reflection, contemplation and humility that kept me mostly mute. I eventually found my centre and my stamina, but only after about four hours and, today, I am sore all over again...but in a good and healthy way. So, with a post-hiking day of rest and some A 535 Rub, to boot, I'm fine and back "on the road again". : So what did I learn from this past month or so? What is my biggest insight from this experience? It really is true, "If you don't use it, you (seemingly) lose it!" But, the good news is if you (I) am truly committed, desirous and see the value, benefit fulfillment and joy of getting back on track (no pun intended) with whatever you wish to resurrect, you probably can find your way "home" again. You just have to have/find the motivation to really want to.

And so, for me--now healed well enough to "buck up" and "soldier on"--it's onward and upward (no pun intended once again!). Mt. Kilimanjaro here I come...but not before lots and lots of Ontario-based challenging hiking trails still yet to come over these countdown 12 weeks. Algonquin Park's Centennial Ridges Trail (once again) is next. Stay tuned and thanks for your interest in "where I'm at" with Mt. Kili training regime. It's so very good to have you along!