So we've gotten through two weekends of graduation hikes. Congratulations to those who have completed their hike (and their day of trail work) and have graduated from CHS! For some of you, this will be the first time that you've completed the course; for others, this may be another of many graduations--either way, accomplishing a goal always feels sweet and rewarding. Graduation from CHS requires time spent on the trail--there are no Notes to ease your completion of the task. Some of those miles were great, some not so great, but all were equally important in helping you to accomplish your goal.
So now that you've accomplished (or are about to accomplish) this goal, have you put any thought into what your next goal might be? I know, I know--I can hear you saying: "Hey Kelly, lay off--let me enjoy having achieved this goal for a little while before you start harping on me about my next goal!" And I would reply that you should take time to celebrate and enjoy having achieved this goal, but at the same time, be thinking about what your next goal might be. Otherwise you might end up looking like this throughout the winter:
I urge you to think about your next goal now because you're fit and ready for another physical challenge now. If you spend too much time sitting around enjoying the fruit's of this summer's hiking labors, you will end up out of shape again. I speak from experience! Each year, I would end my hiking summer in dang good hiking shape, then figuring I'd earned a rest, I'd sit around all winter watching football and losing all of my hard-gained fitness. I'd get out maybe twice a month in the winter with some friends for a winter hike, but they wouldn't be very hard or long and wouldn't really help me keep in shape in any significant way. Then March would arrive and I'd need to do a lot of hard work to get ready to hike for the summer again.
The main reason I began running was to stop this cycle. Sure I still sit on my butt and watch a bunch of football (Go Ducks! Go Hawks!) in the winter, but only after I've put in my run for the day. I manage to keep running because I sign up for races held throughout the fall, winter and spring. The goal of being able to complete the race with a decent (for me) time, keeps me motivated to get out and pound the pavement when I'd rather be hibernating on the couch. Now when spring hiking comes around all I have to do is to work on hiking up hills again at a good pace with a 15 pack, but my cardio is already in good shape from running so I don't have to regain that fitness as well.
So all I'm saying is that while you're celebrating your graduation from CHS, spend a little time thinking about what you might set as your next goal to keep you motivated and in shape during the winter. Maybe you'll do some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and there's a challenging trail you want to be able to finish by seasons' end. Maybe you like to hike in winter and there's a goal you could set for yourself to be able to accomplish there (hike Mt Si twice back to back?). Maybe you want to get ready to run or walk a 5K, 10k, or Half Marathon road race or trail run? The Seattle area is rife with opportunities like this. Find one that appeals to you and work on getting ready for it!
As for myself, I've upped my game this winter and I'll be getting ready to run the Yakima Canyon Marathon in April. This will be my first marathon and four other hiking and running friends have committed to this goal as well, so I'll have plenty of company over the winter to run with. This is incredibly motivating to me and I'm excited to put in the time over the winter to get ready for this. Plus when I'm done, I'll be able to pick right back up with hiking! I hope you'll be right there with me on the trail!
Congratulations and I hope to see you on the trail (or the Centennial Trail) soon!