Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Making it to the Top...At Your Own Pace

My brother Matt, is a mountain runner. I am not.  I prefer a nice flat run where I can get myself into a comfortable pace and run.

Mountain running doesn't offer comfort and requires a totally different strategy.

Lucky for me (sense the sarcasm?), Matt took me on not one, but two, mountain runs this week. 

Our first run took place in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon right outside of Las Vegas.  Within minutes of our "run," my heart was pounding, legs aching, which quickly led to negative thoughts entering my mind (and maybe a few inappropriate words). I wasn't worried if I was going to make it to the top, I wondered if I would be able to keep up.

After five minutes, I knew I wouldn't be able to stick with Matt's pace (and a slower runner NEVER wants to slow a faster runner).  I did what I have always done on my runs with my brother...sent him on ahead.  Whew!

I knew if I stayed on the trail, I would be fine. 

And after seeing him quickly disappear up the mountain (see above picture...he is a small dot up in the canyon), I was ready to make my own ascent to the top.

Luckily our journey here is set by our own pace not someone else's.

We have a path we can follow. And although the path may be smooth and flat at times, we eventually have to face the mountain and leave our place of comfort. If we are going to make it to the top and reach our goal, we will need to leave the easy path and pace and face the unsteady shale, the jagged rocks and steep climb.

And so it was that day at Red Rock I realized that although each of us vary in our ability, we are all able...we just may take longer than someone else.

Matt made the climb in under 30 minutes. He not only had a body conditioned for climbing but he knew the path he should take.  He passed other climbers who commented to me after I asked if they had seen my "jerky brother" that indeed they had seen the amazing runner, my brother, actually "running" up the rocky mountain side.

I on the other hand, took much longer.  And although I did pass the other climbers as well (come on people, I am in shape too...just not in "Matt" shape), it took me more time.  I ended up taking a few wrong paths, leading to more difficult passes on the rocks.  I even had to walk at times.

After reaching the first summit, Matt was there waiting for me (he had already been to the top) ready to join me for the final ascend and lead me to the top of Turtlehead peak.

Together we reached the top.

And as we looked down into the valley below, we both smiled, happy.

(Wait until tomorrow, when I share my thoughts on our Utah climb to Mount Linda!)

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