To me, hiking the Appalachian Trail is hard! I never thought it would be easy. I never thought it would be a walk in the park or a vacation. It is a lifestyle, and it takes energy to maintain the lifestyle. I have to watch every step I take and every cent I spend. I have to stay mentally alert and determined. I need goals. I need motives. Since I have pushed my medical school application plans one year ahead, I have little to construct. I am okay with this. I have thought of a better motive: to prove to myself that I am capable of overcoming physical challenges.
I have never been physically "gifted." Yes, I am slender, but I am uncoordinated, have little muscle, and care little for athletics. I was the kid picked last in gym class. I played baseball for four years and hit the ball once. I am the opposite of a prodigy. History has told me that I am unathletic and should not attempt to take on physical challenges.
But I can do this. I can hike the Appalachian Trail. I have already walked 20 mile days through the mountains and lived to tell the tale. My mind is in it and I am feeling good. If I ascend Mt. Katahdin, I know my slothful couch-potato days can be over. I still may not be able to hit a baseball, but it won't get me down any more.
If you check out our itinerary, you will notice that we are about one week behind schedule. I am not worried though. We are finally leaving the mountains, where we averaged 16-20 miles per day. Virginia? We will be doing some marathons: 26 miles in a day. People train for months, years even, to run a marathon. We will be doing it often, over hard terrain, with 30-35 pound packs. How cool is that?