This is my second attempt at writing this first-ever entry. The previous one did not auto-save or publish (obviously), and of course, it was perfect. It’s a shame  you won’t get to read it, but I do hope you enjoy what I pieced together from memory! 

I know, 60 hikes in a year doesn’t seem like a big deal. I mean, you have a whole year! Then, you take into account that you have a job. That leaves you with just the weekends, of which there are the standard 52. Now, all of a sudden, not only do you have to hike every weekend, but a few of those will require doubling up. But, you also have kids, who often have schedules of their own, and also don’t really care to go traipsing around the wilderness with you when there is Minecraft to be played. Throw in other miscellaneous birthdays and events in support of friends and family, and that easily shaves a few more weekends off of your calendar. Suddenly, you realize that whatever weekends you have available will most likely have multiple hikes scheduled into them. Typically-negative me would have given up as soon as I realized there were more hikes than weekends in a year.

Fortunately, typically-negative me had some interesting and positive things happen in 2016. On July 31st my husband, Chris, and I competed in The Great Hollywood Race, organized and put on by my dear friend Herman. This was my first real instance of going outside of my comfort zone. More than anything else, I  was terrified of embarrassing myself. But since I seem to embarrass myself even within my comfort zone, I figured I had nothing to lose. Somehow, I managed to severely underestimate the “race” aspect of the whole thing, and burnt myself out before the first checkpoint. We stayed in it, though, and while we were the first team to be eliminated, it was due more to outside interference than my own personal lack of fitness. It was a lot of fun, but I wanted to do better. At least I know I tried something I normally wouldn’t have the guts to do.

It was Chris’s birthday, too. Sorry, honey.

A couple of other things happened that shaped my current mindset, almost simultaneously: group hikes, and the 5K event of the Santa Clarita Marathon. Chris decided he wanted to run the actual marathon in November, with only 4 months to train and before I knew it, he wrangled me into doing the 5K portion. I realized I had to start training myself. The anxiety for this one was HIGH. I had never done anything like this before, and, once again, I was terrified of embarrassing myself. I know 3 miles isn’t much for most people, but in my own head, it may as well have been the marathon. Most of all, I wanted to finish, and definitely not in last. From the start of my training to completing my race, I realized a couple of seemingly obvious things: I HATE running, but I love feeling awesome. Feeling awesome won out, and in the days following my race, I signed up for another 5K. I know I’m going to be taking on a lot trying to run during the week and hike on the weekends, but what good is putting it off going to do?

My first medal!

I had gone on a couple of hikes with my little family and enjoyed them so much I made sure to buy a pair of hiking boots so that I could go out a little more prepared. Those boots sat in my closet for 4 months (not cool), until the first group hike. I can’t mention the group hikes without thanking my friend, Danielle. I got involved in her fitness group over the summer (I think), and I get so much out of the group and the individual ladies who participate, but especially from the hikes. To date, we’ve done 4 monthly hikes, and they are always open to the entire group. Our monthly hikes are the one thing I do for myself without feeling guilty or “asking permission”. If my family’s personal calendar is clear, and we schedule a hike for that day, anything that comes up after that works around the hike. I get nervous driving to new places by myself (I usually make Chris tag along), and I have some serious anxiety when it comes to parking (don’t judge me), but I’ve made it a point to do these things on my own, pushing the boundaries of the proverbial comfort zone. So far, it’s pretty much been Danielle, Andrea and I, and each time has been somewhere none of us have been before, so we’re kind of our own little Adventure Squad, haha.

Our December Holiday hike at Solstice Canyon.

Had I come across “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Los Angeles” by Laura Randall before these things happened, or even missing one or two of them, I don’t think I would have even flinched. I was more uncomfortable last year than any recent year I can remember. Facing those discomforts, as well as the experiences of the hikes themselves, made it seem possible to not only meet the challenge of completing 60 hikes, but to completely knock it out. Awesomeness shall ensue.

I’m so ready.