I had this idea, as I headed to my fortieth birthday, that I was going to show I was the new thirty at forty and that I would run a marathon — the real 26-mile kind. And then, with the realization that I had to work out to qualify for the training class, my enthusiasm was dashed in an instant. It would take six weeks to train to train, ugh! <and no the spell check didn’t miss that>.
Geesh, I’m a working American who can’t find time to wrestle with the bank over hidden NSF fees – who has time for exercise? Let alone getting in shape for an event? After pulling back the excited declaration I’d made to my friends and family of my doing a real marathon, I got really real and went for the half marathon instead – of course this disproved I was the new thirty, but rather the real forty.
So when I faced another event in my life that required huffing and puffing, I was far more sober. I was invited to hike Nepal for a month. This time I didn’t declare it, but rather belly-ached to the same friends and family that I may not make it. I mean I can’t be the woman who cried thirty too often!
What I discovered, much to my out-of-shape-I-don’t-think-I’m-fit-enough-for-this surprise, is I really didn’t need to be ready to take on Everest. I could walk up a good <more than 25 steps> flight of stairs and bike to the park with my energetic nieces and nephews. Because guess what? Kayaking or or hiking Nepal or anywhere is not a 26 mile slog in 3 to 5 hours but 26 miles in one, two or even three days, step by step, with stops for breaks, tea with the locals, trail side shopping and lunch. I didn’t realize that I could stop or go ahead as I wished depending on my mood of the moment <and it turns out guides are very accommodating with making stops or letting you go ahead>.
We over-achieving-always-proving-ourselves have this notion that “fit” means we have to look like we could don the cover of Fitness Magazine and keep up with Madonna in the gym. But by kind and understanding adventure travel company standards it doesn’t mean that.
Fit, by their reasonable standards, which is what you need to be for their wondrous and sometimes exotic group travel adventures, means that you haven’t spent every night for weeks eating Lays on the couch and can’t make it to the car without huffing and puffing. It means you can get around, walk an incline and keep up with your or others’ kids well mostly. And so if you’re “fit” in ATT not defined by the phone company but in Adventure Travel Terms you can wander the Himalayas or hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but if you’re less than fit, all you need to do is go a bit slower. And if you want to get fit there is no better, funner no it’s not a word but if I use it a lot it will be a simpler way to get fit.
Okay the end of the hiking Nepal story. . . I was greater than fit when I got home. I lost 26lbs in a month, never felt better and could probably qualify for the “real” marathon training I had originally hoped for. Result! Does that sound good to you?
Written by Marie