Today, I went hiking for the first time since being in the park. A friendly hiking guide named J.J. needed to do a practice guided-hike with some employees from the park, to help him prepare for the actual customers. After playing several rounds of the card game "Euchre" together, he asked me to come with him. I'm glad I said yes, because it was the perfect day for hiking in the mountains.
We tumbled out of our dorms at the crack of dawn (actually, in Denali there is no such thing as "dawn" because it's pretty much always light outside here right now, but nonetheless, there was tumbling and grumpyness) to begin our hike on one of the 'moderately strenuous' hikes called Rock Creek. We only did about 4 miles total, because J.J. had other stuff to do for work.
I realized something today while huffin and puffin up some of the more difficult sections of the rugged trail: I'm a bit out of shape. This may not come as a shock to those of you who know me well. But trust me, I am. I also realized today that being overweight is holding me back from more than I have ever realized before. As a longstanding member of the "Chub Club," everything I do is harder for me. Hiking is difficult. Stairs are difficult. Anything athletic or physical is difficult. It takes me twice as long to do what normal people can do, as well as twice the effort. Extraordinary Effort, in fact. I could feel my heart hammering away while we went uphill, my lungs squeezing in and out in a fast tempo, my knees and hips screaming in protest. All I really wanted to do was sit down in a sunny spot and take a nap. But I didn't let myself cave in to that temptation, because I knew it wouldn't be good for me. I pshed myself really hard today. I'm sure this hike wasn't that difficult for normal, healthy people. I didn't say anyone else breathing hard. I didn't notice anyone else sweating. I realized that I have become used to putting in more effort than everyone else.
I also realized that enough is enough. I really enjoy hiking. I also enjoy swimming, walking, running occasionally, and being able to keep up with my friends that regularly partake in physical activity. I enjoy those things, and I am sick to death of them being so damn difficult for me to do. As I was hiking, I imagined what the rest of my life would be like if I maintained my current weight. I shuddered to realize that it will only get harder from here on out, unless I am able to put in even more Extraordinary Effort now to fix this problem. I must conquer or be conquered. There is no other choice to be made. I must be constantly vigilant in my weight loss effort from here on out. I must! I must do more physically demanding things on a regular basis, knowing that the more I hike and walk and swim and run, the easier these things will get, and I will be able to do more. I need to kick up my level of Extraordinary Effort now, while I am young and have the drive to do so. I know that this is totally a mental thing: it has nothing to do with the physical part of it at all. It IS mind over matter. I have to push myself further everyday. Every single day. I have to get over this hurdle, this moutain that I have put in my own way. I will conquer. I will NOT be conquered by someting so pathetic. I know that I am stronger than that. I know that I am braver than that. I know that I deserve better than that. And I am ready. It took traveling halfway across the world to make me see the gravity of the situation, but I get it now. The world already has too many lazy, chubby people. I will not contribute to that weak effort. I am capable of extraordinary effort, and I shall prove it.