So we’re both still on the trail and we’re making good time with plenty of positive wind in our sails. We had our rough seas and Julie almost didn’t make it through, but we’ve turned the corner and are moving through the miles yet again. Our motto is the “beach body push” because we’re off the trail next Friday for a week-long vacation with our family in Myrtle Beach, SC where we can relax and lounge around the beach with no miles to hike.
The reason it’s the beach body push is because physically, New Jersey and New York made us both soft. We were both proud of our legs and how toned and defined our muscles had gotten. I could see all the muscles in my quads and hamstrings and my calves were better than they’d ever been. However, with all our hiking struggles of late, we’ve spent more time in hotels with lots of town food and not as much walking. The result has been squishy legs (they can still hike plenty of miles each day) and if we’re going to the beach that simply won’t do.
So we’re hiking big days and it’s been quite enjoyable. We did 29, 26, and 29 over the past three days, and the middle day was a town day with a resupply in Kent, CT. We plan on getting in some more big days to finish MA and work our way into VT, not quite making it to NH before we head down south for the week of relaxation.
We are also working to get our mental game tougher as it too got soft with the mud and swamps of NJ and NY. Julie put it best on the night before she was planning on quitting the trail at the RPH Shelter in NY in a conversation with Marathon Mouse when she said, “I just need to nut up and quit being such a wuss”. I would have had a hard time saying that to her as her husband but it sure sounded right on when the words came out of her mouth. And I too had softened, trying to think of every way to make the trail easier for her to keep her going forward. We would stop more, rest more, eat more; I even carried all our stuff at one point so she could try to run the trail unencumbered.
The bottom line was that the mental toughness that has gotten through countless races, jobs, and other adventures had disappeared and neither one of us recognized it. Thankfully Julie did before it was too late and we are now both pushing forward in order to keep the Appalachian Trail dream alive and to work for those beach bodies our vain selves desire come next week in Myrtle Beach.