One of the things I love about hiking is that I get into nature and clear my mind. Tonight I had a complete realization that trail running/hiking is a metaphor for life.
Even more so, there is a lesson to be learned here for me. I did a hike in a canyon down to a waterfall and then back out again. Hiking down to the falls went quickly. I was in awe of the beauty but took little time to enjoy it. I watched my footing and practically ran to the bottom. On the way out of the canyon I was sucking air. The elevation was killing me and my legs were burning. I found myself grateful for the flat parts of the trail.
Then it hit me. This is life. It’s a cycle of ups and downs. The downs should be enjoyed more. They’re easy, and as a result we seem to run right through them. They pass so quickly and we take them for granted. It’s important to slow down and take it all in.
Then there are the up hills. Life is full of up hills. They burn like hell and leave you questioning yourself. You push on wondering if you can keep going and if the end is in near. You have faith that it is, so you push through it. Sometimes you have to give yourself pep talks to make it through. They seem to last forever and stick in your head the most.
Then there are the flat parts of the trail that even out. I have never really appreciated these parts of life. They have always seemed a little mundane and boring. Tonight, when my legs felt like they might just quit working on the up hills, I became so grateful for when the trail flattened out. It was a great time to catch my breath and take in my accomplishments. I had time to mentally prepare for the next hill. Instead of rushing through the flat parts, I need to use this time to regroup. This is the reprieve.
My conclusion for today is trail running is life. The up hills kick your ass, the down hills are easy to run through too fast, and the flat sections should be appreciated and used to reflect and regroup. The trails have many lessons to teach me.