Sometimes We Conquer Mountains

First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of the words of encouragement yesterday! Have I mentioned recently how much I love you all? Because I really do. And thank you for not telling me that I’m crazy, even if you’re thinking it (trust me, I’m thinking it too).  You guys are amazing!

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So, as part of the whole, We’re Running a Marathon thing, we decided to do a kick-off by climbing a mountain (if you are singing Miley Cyrus right now, then my job here is done).  Also, while my knee wasn’t loving the idea of running this weekend, walking was fine, so naturally walking 8 miles with a 3,775 elevation gain seemed like a good idea!

Albuquerque has a  mountain chain called the Sandias that make up the eastern border of the city.  The La Luz trail will take you from the bottom to the top at a 12% grade incline.  I’ve climbed the trail before, and Aaron has done it many times, but we thought the whole idea of conquering a mountain seemed like a great way to jump into the 18 week marathon battle.  How awesomely symbolic are we?

We got our start at 7 a.m. at the same time as a friendly group of Canadians.  Every person on the trail at that point was running up.  I wanted to start running with them (I was totally worried about being judged as a non-runner…THE HORROR) but my knee and my fear of aggravating it further told me to keep walking.  I was impressed that so many people were starting their Sunday with a nice trail run.

La Luz starts out as a desert climate.  My incentive to walk faster was knowing that the higher we got, the less likely we were to encounter rattlesnakes!  I HATE rattlesnakes!

 {looking up to our destination}

At about mile 5, the dirt trail converts to a boulder field.  You are essentially hiking over a rock slide that happened possibly 1000 years ago! The whole thing feels a little unstable, like, yes, those rocks have been there for hundreds of years, but it isn’t like they are attached to anything.

The trail ends as a forest with wildflowers, large pine trees, and ferns replacing cacti and yucca and a magnificent view of the city and beyond.

While I wouldn’t classify this trail as a very hard climb, it is a wonderful reminder that 1) we are small compared to the vastness of the world and 2) we are not invincible.  One rock slide or one trip over the edge, and you’re done for.  Yet overcoming that fear and living life “on the edge” will be well worth the effort (symbolism AND metaphors? I’m on a roll!).

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t offer a prayer of thanks for my legs and their ability to walk, run, and to climb.  Our bodies are such powerful tools, and I am blessed to have complete freedom to use mine without limitations.  I am thankful for every step I took up that mountain.

Almost 4 hours and nearly 8 miles later, we reached the top, triumphant, and actually not all that worn out. We celebrated with our pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and beers that Aaron carried up the mountain for us! There is a restaurant at the top, but it was a Sunday, and you can’t purchase alcohol before noon in New Mexico on Sundays.  So we provided our own mountaintop party.

Instead of climbing back down 8 miles, we took the Tram (Formally the world’s longest) down the mountain in a trip that took less than 20 minutes to cover what took us almost 4 hours.  (It is of note to mention that if you opt to do this, you have to pre-park a car at the base of the tram, then drive a second one to the base of the trail.  They are about 2 miles apart).

We conquered the mountain like we hope to conquer marathon training!  And, as an added bonus, after the hike, my knee actually felt better!

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9 thoughts on “Sometimes We Conquer Mountains

  1. Beautiful and looks like a ton of beer. Old Chub is my favorite. I used to work and ride for Oskar Blues and would get a case of OC a week. Yum. Not that I need a case of beer a week.

  2. Pingback: (Half) Marathon Reflection Monday & Other Stuff | Lavender Parking

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