Mentally speaking, in the weeks leading up to the 2018 Boston Marathon, I was all over the place. I was having an identity crisis over the fact that I had under-trained for this race. I was embarrassed that I wouldn't be putting up a time that was anywhere near as fast as what I was capable of. I was afraid I was going to finish the race with an injury - or worse, not finish at all. But, at the same time, I was excited to run in the race that had inspired me to run marathons in the first place. I was achieving one of my dreams, something that seven years earlier, seemed anything but possible.
Bryce Canyon National Park is really quite small compared to some of the other parks I visited this summer. The hubristic (read: stupid, naïve) part of me was tempted to try to run all of the trails in the park during the two days I was there... So, I laced up my trail runners, filled up my water bottle, and descended into the canyon.
I’ve come to enjoy my trips to America’s national parks not only because they’re these beautiful, sacred places, but because they’ve consistently provided me with an opportunity to get away from some of the chaos of living in a city. They’ve become places where I can slow things down a bit and clear my mind.
Visiting North Cascades National Park was proof that you don’t need to get on an airplane or drive across state lines to see something amazing. Climbing into the mountains in the North Cascades was truly incredible; I felt like I had teleported into another country after hiking for less than an hour.
You’ve gotta learn to make do with what you’ve got; you’ve gotta be flexible; you’ve gotta learn not to get too attached to anything. And so, when a coastal storm destroyed some of the ports in the Channel Islands, de-railing my plans in the park, I didn’t cancel my flight. Instead, I rented a car. I made a new plan. I was driving to Yosemite National Park.
We were paddling twice as hard and barely moving through the water. The glassy surface we’d started with was shattered into choppy, rough water. And suddenly, the concerns we’d had the night before – that the weather might turn against us and leave us unable to make it back to our car – started to feel all too real.