The tipping point had come. I stopped sat on a rock on the side of the path and started crying. Not a big baby embarassing cry. It was the kind of cry that only people who really know you, or what you were experiencing would be able to discern. To the rest of the world it probably looked like I got tired and was wrestling with allergies.
It was the Summit Challenge. We were hiking 7 peaks, 20 miles and 6500 feet in elevation gain in 2 days. In order it went: Papago Moutain, Camelback Mountain, Shaw Butte, Lookout Mountain, South Mountain, Piestewa Peak and North Mountain. I knew the Summit Challenge was going to be . . . a challenge. But the challenge was not matching my mental picture. I expected the aching that comes from the lactic acid buildup. Fatigue was a given. The negative thoughts being stronger than my optimistic personality? Didn’t see that one. My normally attentive husband leaving his asthmatic, heavily breathing wife in the literal and metaphorical dust? Didn’t see that either.
The same hike that I had taken three weeks prior: first South Mountain and then Piestewa Peak was making me cry. What was the source of all this insanity and when would it stop. We all know the answer, when I stopped the madness would as well.
That’s the definition of challenge. Something harder than you that will break you if you allow it. I was witness to the tenaciousness necessary for this particular challenge the day prior when another hiker was pushing on his quadriceps with his hands, so he could make it up Lookout Mountain. “You can do this” I said to him as I passed by. Then I stopped and prayed for him. That he would know he had the strength and realize the joy when he found it.
As I sat on that rock and cried, one of those friends, who was walking down the mountian touched my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “You can do this,” and continued his descent. The crying stopped, I smiled and went on to complete summit number 6 .
In the last two hours the encouragement given to and by me had to have generated a solar flare or something that cosmos disrupting. High fives and you go girl or boy were abounding.
Was it worth crying? Was it worth seeing myself be weak? Certainly. There is a bible verse that says when we are weak God is strong. Being weak is such a hard thing to do (at least it is for me). Yet the reward far exceeded the sacrifice. It was humbling. Who likes to cry in public. It was mildly painful. I am so grateful for recovery drinks and Aleve. It was so worth it.
I will do this again next year. With the only difference being I’m going to make an appointment for a day spa the day after and my highly sensitive husband will pay for it.