Bible, Christian Life, God, hiking, Life, Things I've Learned

Running

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14

These passages have been hard for me to get through my head, and I’ll tell you why. I ran track when I was a sophomore in high school. The Sis and The Sis-In-Law and the rest of our friends were on the track team, and I thought it would be fun to join them. Because I wasn’t fast enough to run sprints and couldn’t run for long enough to do the longer races, I ran the 400 meter race. (I am told now it’s one of the hardest races to run. Thanks for letting me know then, track coach (not).) Turns out I am just a very slow runner, and I lost every single race. I mean, I came in dead last. Every. Single. Race. I went to every practice and every meet, but since I wasn’t one of the winning team members the coaches pretty much ignored me and didn’t give me any pointers. When it was time to give out awards, I really hoped that I could get a letter just because I tried as hard as I could and ran every race regardless of my lack of talent and subsequent embarrassment, but you only got a letter if you received a certain number of points and that meant you had to win events. (Our school didn’t offer letters in choir. If they had, I totally would have gotten all the letters.)

Hebrews 12:1 talks about running with endurance, and Philippians 3:14 talks about winning the prize. Well, I ran but I didn’t have much endurance (hence my not being able to run the longer races), and I never won a prize. The only competition I’ve ever won on my own was a spelling competition in middle school, and then when it came to the bigger contest I didn’t come close to winning that one. Not being a competitive person by nature, I don’t enter contests if I know I will be competing directly against others. I don’t like competition. I mean, I enjoy winning but really don’t have confidence that I will.

So I have always been rather flummoxed when reading these Bible passages about running and winning, since now I can’t even run at all (Well, I can run half a block. Then I have to stop because I can’t breathe. Ow. Running hurts.) and I have never been good enough at anything to win any important competitions. And I am not that great at pressing on toward goals I set for myself, so there’s also that.

I have decided, however, to replace “run” with “hike” in my thinking. I can hike with perseverance and reach the hiking goal, so that speaks to me better then the idea of running. I have reached many summits (though not any 14ers, but then I haven’t tried) and have only had to turn around a couple of times, mostly because of sketchy snow on the trail. This gives me hope that although I will never be like Jesus completely, I can move forward and become more like Him as I hike through life. I’m a slow hiker, but I get places.

Me on a summit

Obviously there is so much more to these scriptures, but that is for another post!

Backpacking, hiking, Observations, PCT, Things I've Learned

The Social Side of Layering (from REI’s blog)

This is something I hadn’t considered, but a new post from REI that I received in an email today takes the idea of layering clothing to a different level. It never occurred to me that who you’re hiking with might influence what you should wear!

Click link below to read the post:

The Social Side of Layering

Hiking group at Tumalo Falls, OR
Marnie (Kangaroo) wearing a t-shirt and shorts for a warm summer backpacking trip

In summer I always take (or wear in the morning) a light merino jacket when hiking, and in spring/fall/winter I take my puffy (Patagonia Micropuff) in my pack for lunch stops. I hardly ever start out wearing my puffy because I just get too warm too fast and have to stop to take it off, so I try to start off “cold” because I know I’ll warm up, especially if hiking uphill. When it is raining or snowing, I wear my rain jacket to stay dry, with a merino or fleece underneath. In cold weather I’m usually wearing a merino base layer top under my merino jacket or fleece, and if it’s very cold I’ll wear some base layer leggings under my hiking pants or rain pants. Sometimes if I know I will be exerting myself a lot I’ll wear my merino knee warmers instead of leggings, because my knees/shins get cold faster than the rest of my legs and then there is no danger of getting uncomfortably warm. I also wear a merino Buff to keep my neck cozy. I wore a sunshirt in the desert on the PCT with light pants, and with shorts for our July/August PCT backpacking trip in southern Oregon. (Advantage: get a great “hiker tan” from where your shorts hit down to where your socks come up to!) When backpacking, I always have my puffy for cool nights. I pretty much layer the same way no matter who I’m hiking with, but will think more about that from now on!

What’s your layering strategy? Comment below!

Miscellaneous, Observations, Things I've Learned

Be Prepared

Quote from last week’s James Clear email (he is the author of Atomic Habits, a book I have but haven’t read yet):

“Many people are not ready for their lucky break when it comes to them.
Develop your skills. Study your craft. Save some money. Build a network before you need it. Lay the ground work.
The prepared person is positioned to benefit from unexpected opportunities.”