Sadly, Still a Work in Progress

New Year’s Day proved to me that I still have a lot of (mental) work to do in my transition from marathon runner to running/backpacking hybrid…er. In the past I began every January 1st, regardless of the weather, with a run. Some years that was a pleasant (considering it’s winter, anyway) cruise, but most of the time it has been an exercise (pun intended) in personal motivation and physical fortitude. Translation: The weather was horrid.

I was determined to start my 2017 with a weighted practice hike in line with my new persona of aspiring Appalachian Trail section hiker, weather be hanged. But it was frigid and breezy, and I couldn’t bear the thought of walking in those temps. Running this time of year is a much warmer (and therefore more tolerable) activity than hiking.

So I ran. In a fit of guilty compromise, I ran in the Merrell All Out Peak trail runners that I use for hiking, but I ran. And while it was a solid effort to start the year, the guilt of not loading up my Kestrel 28 with some graduate school-era textbooks and taking a shivering stroll took the edge of enjoyment off the run.

So here I sit, a couple of weeks into the new year, and I’m looking ahead to the weather this weekend and plotting out runs. But I need a mental reset. The temps for the last week and going forward for the next one have been/are seasonably very mild. It was 40 degrees here on Tuesday, which for Maine in January is “where are my shorts?” weather. Or more accurately, “I could be on-the-road backpacking” weather.

Last year I had fairly lofty goals for a newbie that fell away unrealized. I’m determined not to let that happen this year. After all, I really want a Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60, but that’s an aspirational purchase for me right now. I can’t picture myself laying out $255 for a backpack when I’ve yet to do a single overnight. So I’m keeping that in front of me as I begin this year and, when I’ve “earned” one through experience, I’ll proudly and happily buy one.

It’s time for me to begin looking towards the warmer months and preparing for them now. Before the weekend is past, I WILL have a weighted practice hike completed. *Raises fist in the air*

Besides, I have those “expensive” new tip covers for my trekking poles to break in…


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