Taking the Leap & Charleston Photos

Me, a little scared and searching for the safest route down from Charleston Peak Ridge, sitting on a rocky, crumbling ledge – looking at my feet with my camera. Somewhere around 11,200 feet.

Potential Energy: Potential energy, or stored energy, is the ability of a system to do work due to its position or internal structure.

Tomorrow I get to run the AFC Half Marathon. I’m really excited. And a little nervous. It’s sort of like being at the very edge of a cliff with a steep drop, en route to a mountain top. The views are stunning, but it’s also a little scary.

Charleston_Trail_LedgeLately, I’ve been a little anxious about upcoming stuff (for lack of a better word). N is gone, I’m on my own – left to deal with that bubbling bit of uncertainty and whispers of doubt. This is normal for a deployment. My pre-race anxiety… yes, but that’s always normal. And besides, I’ve raced enough on my own and for long enough that I’m sort of used to it by now (and it’s not really a big deal). I’m not really going into this one with any expectations: I’ve run hard when I’ve been able to, yanked back training when tired, tried a new strength routine (Studio Barre! YEA!), and have done my best to keep up with C. I feel so fortunate to have had the hiking adventures that we’ve had this summer – it has truly been a gift and I wouldn’t do anything differently (except that near fall off the above trail during our descent from Charleston Peak. That was a triple fuck moment.)

But I’m also nervous about some new things – namely starting a new teaching job, and the uncertainty that comes with it. I’ll admit it – as someone who is naturally anxious (um…. bad weather on high peaks….sharks….car breaking down in the middle of the desert….random boogeymen under the bed, so the flying leap back into bed after a late night WC visit is just a given….being eaten by a mountain lion….N….charging cows – just to name a few) – not really knowing what to expect with this new position has been challenging. I feel like I know enough to know that I don’t know jack squat. See – a little bit of knowledge CAN be scary. Every time I feel a bit of panic bubble up, I remind myself that it will be okay. And that there’s a certain, natural equation to make things work… and that I need to believe in myself. 

It’s like with hiking (something that comes pretty easy right now) –

Charleston_Working_to_top_fourYou get up early….put in the honest work necessary to do what you need to do… enjoy the views along the way…celebrate moments on the journey… and eventually (and with a lot of breathless, understated work) – the top comes into view.

Unfortunately, this process will most assuredly take longer than our three-ish hour ascent of Mt Charleston (11,915), the highpoint in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness, Toiyabe National Forest (just slightly northwest of Las Vegas). And yes, we left annoyingly early due to 40% chance of Thunderstorms after 11 am. The 3:15 wake-up was early (C is a trooper with my weather phobia/knowledge), but we hit the Trail Canyon Trailhead (connecting to the North Peak Loop Trail) by 3:45 am and had the fortune of watching the sun come up above 10K feet. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever experienced – Mt. Charleston turned pink in the alpenglow.

“Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation.” ~ Balzac

And with enough time, patience, and ability to recognize the small things – which as we know – are really a big deal and add up to BIG things,

Charleston_littlethings– time continues, and those scary moments that we initially feared because we just didn’t know, turn out to be not that bad after all. My race is more of a known quantity… I love running, love racing, and view each opportunity to toe the line as a gift. New jobs with different roles are always a little scary… and while as a military spouse I’ve had the opportunity to try many different occupations….with each new beginning there’s always that initial fear, self-doubt and those butterflies of anticipation. But I also know that I’m not the only one who has felt this way… that, at some point or another, we have ALL felt fears and doubts; yet, we press forward in spite of them. That takes courage, strength and faith. There’s solace in knowing that I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way.

In the end, we move forward, to our own unique finish – whatever (and wherever) that may be.

Charleston_summitAnd we always ALWAYS take the time to look around, be naturally curious, and take in our surroundings. (Even if the wind is blowing 30 mph at nearly 12,000 feet).

Charleston_Ridge_PeakESPECIALLY if it involves some sort of radio or antennae and it reminds you of your husband who loves radio stuff in general. Yeah… I’m not really sure what I’m looking at here atop Charleston Ridge Peak…. but I just know that N would like it. Stuff like that makes me happy – thinking about him. I love him and miss him and think about him every day.

So there you have it – tomorrow (oops… almost today) – tomorrow I race. Monday I start a new job. Lots of good stuff to look forward to, different heights to reach, and new gifts to learn about myself. Life is definitely an adventure and I’m looking forward to (and a little scared about) what is around the corner. This is good – if anything it reminds me that I’m human.

And I’m forgetting the most important part – we ALWAYS ALWAYS celebrate…because no matter how big or small the ledge (or challenge) – taking that leap in the face of fear, uncertainty, doubt – that is awesome. And frankly, life is a lot better when we aim for new heights, try new things, push the boundaries and then push a little more. This is the stuff that we remember –

Charleston_jump

Charleston Peak Summit JUMP with Old Glory! Hooray!

For the record, I made it off the ledge in the top picture. I took my time, C gave me some good support, and slowly but surely – made it down to the main trail (um… obviously – otherwise I wouldn’t be writing). Good friends can make all the difference in life – that’s important to note, too. Okay – I need to hit the sack and go to sleep… I’m up and eating my pre-race oatmeal in 4.5 hours. Aaack!

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3 thoughts on “Taking the Leap & Charleston Photos

  1. Good luck! I hope you have a wonderful race and an enjoyable start to your new job, nerves and all, pro for the course as you settle in! I love your posts and pictures, very inspiring words and views (but thanks for keeping it real).

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