If someone told me two years ago that I would hike what National Geographic describes as “one of the most technical mountain hikes without climbing equipment east of the Mississippi” I would have thought they were crazy. It could not be done.
However, this past weekend, I did it.
My husband John and I escaped for the weekend to Boone to do some hiking at Grandfather Mountain. I really did not fathom what “trail traverses forest, exposed cliffs, rock outcroppings, ladders and attached cables” would mean to me. I was up for the challenge without really understanding what I was getting myself into. We hiked for 3.5 hours to MacRae Peak, Attic’s Window, Alpine Meadow and back on the rocky and steep Underwood Trail Junction. It was an empowering yet exhausting hike that warranted a two hour afternoon nap. . . .and I’m not one to nap!
There is a lot that I have not understood and still don’t in my life, particularly regarding fitness and health. I have been pretty much sedentary for most of it. I would dabble in fitness classes here and there, joining gyms, have personal training sessions, but I wasn’t committed. I wasn’t committed until I laid down next to my 9 year old to read one of the Harry Potter books and she said, “Mom, you’re fat.” She felt very bad using those words but she did not know how else to describe the fact that my stomach was way bigger than it should have been and I was out of breath. I didn’t even have a good reason for feeling out of breath – I was just sitting there! That was January 1, 2012. John started his first F3 workout that day. I think between his F3 excitement and my daughter’s honest truth, I felt ready to do something--or forced to--I’m not sure which..
For the next year I committed myself to boot camp and TRX classes at the Myers Park Outreach Center with the support of two awesome trainers, Arthur Pulley and Amy Peacock (aka ChiaPet) and a supportive neighbor Maggie Tapp, aka 40, who made sure my ass was up and ready to go for the 5:30 class or she’d honk her car horn. The support network was amazing and just what I needed. I felt motivated and changed my diet. The next thing I knew, I had lost over 20 pounds and dropped 4 sizes. I also ruptured my Achilles and had to have surgery in June 2012 from back peddling at one of the boot camp classes but I vowed not to go back to my sedentary ways. I would do one legged push-ups in my closet with a 10 pound splint on my leg and dips with that splint in the air. I knew there were exercises I could do and I made sure to do them. I also happened to be 39 and wished for the next 40 years of my life to be better physically for me. I was charged up and ready to go.
However, I was still torn; there were moments when I was full of self-doubt and had this fear of losing this momentum. Something was still missing. I still can’t fully grasp what changed but I did know enough is enough.
In January of 2013, Chia Pet led the first ever FiA workout and I joined her on a very cold, dark and rainy Friday morning. From that point on, I found something that gave me even more energy than I had before. I found a support network of women that encourage one another, in the early morning, in rain or shine and with smiles on their faces.
I’m so energized and appreciative, and while I still have bouts with a self-doubting inner voice, it’s crushed by a “FiA bad ass” that tells that inner voice to shut the hell up. . . to just engage that core, that it’s me against me, that the negative talkey will stop when I’m running, that I can run that marathon in October, that I can do anything that I put my mind to including hiking one of the toughest ungeared trails in the Southeast. I honestly could not be on this journey where I am today without FiA.
Thank you ladies for the inspiration and the support.