Typically, I was getting sore/cranky after about 2.5 miles. This time, it took about 0.25 mile before I was complaining about my calves and wanting to sit down. At 2.4 miles in, I had a decision to make: Loop around for just another mile or take our original trail for two more miles. I decided to put on my "big-girl panties" and do the full hike EVEN THOUGH the trail map said that next mile was the most difficult in the park. Here's a picture of my joy... Yeah, that smile is fake. What of it?
How did I get through it? I had to stop a lot, especially at the top of hills (and half-way up as well) to catch my breath and try not to vomit. But, while gasping for any small bit of oxygen, I was able to look out over the ravines, creeks, and forest and be thankful. I was thankful for the ability to feel the pain in my lungs, calves, etc. and to spend a beautiful day with my husband who supports every crazy thing I do. I took a moment to be thankful for the people who read this blog, even though I can't seem to maintain a publishing schedule. I was thankful for all of it, every painful breath and every extra step.