A Low Point at High Altitude


hike fallTo you, this photo may or may not look like a pretty picture taken on a hike. To me, it represents a very low point during a recent vacation. Allow me to explain.

Two weeks ago Hubs and I were in Colorado day hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I love to hike, but I’ve lost some agility over the past few years. I’d like to blame an ACL repair and a foot surgery for that. On the day I took this photo, we were hiking to Gem Lake on a trail I’ve taken before. This trail has A LOT of steps carved out of the mountain and many of them were too tall for my current agility level. My mood was turning sour quickly as I faced step after step.

I don’t know what or how it happened. Maybe it was loose gravel. I lost my footing. I hyper-extended a knee, pulled a muscle in my leg and sprained my thumb. All in one clumsy fall. After collecting myself for a few minutes and determining I didn’t dislocate my knee, I tried to hike up a few more of those too-tall stairs. I realized that the more I hiked up, the more steps I would have to climb down…with a pulled leg muscle. I told hubs to finish the ascent without me. He made me promise to stay put. Where was I going to go by myself in the condition I was in?

While I waited for hubs, I felt totally defeated. I’d been beating myself up during the week for struggling on some of the more challenging (for me) hikes. But the fall was the last straw. I was miserable physically and emotionally while sitting on a rock in the middle of nowhere waiting for hubs. I took the photo you see above as a forever reminder of that moment of defeat. After a few minutes of pouting and feeling sorry for myself I vowed to take steps (no pun intended) to never feel that way again.

Later that night while limping around our hotel, I told hubs that I want to work on “functional strength,” particularly in my legs. I am a cardio queen who loves getting my heart rate up and being drenched with sweat during workouts. Weight training? Not so much. I now realize that running and biking do not provide me with the leg strength I need to do activities I enjoy such as hiking.

And so I am recommitting myself to working out with weights two days a week. I don’t like it, which is why I fall off the weight wagon so often. But after that tumble on the trail, weight training is no longer about muscle cuts and six pack abs. It’s about doing what’s necessary to live the active life I want to live.

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