Today’s Guest Post is from Laurie Coldwell, Program Coordinator and Administrator.

When your goal takes a detour.

This week I am on vacation. I had great plans for this week. As many of you knew I had a goal. A goal a year in the making. Every time we talked about goals, and if it was realistic, I would always share the goal I was working on for a whole year. To hike Mt. Washington for my 45th trip around the sun.
I had completed all the steps. Including getting steps. Whether it was on the treadmill, or on my road I was walking every day. Increasing my distance. Building my stamina.

I got myself some hiking shoes. I spent hours breaking them in. Sometimes it felt silly to walk with them on my very flat paved road, but I wanted to get used to them.
I even invested in a backpack to hold snacks and water while hiking. One of those backpacks that has the built-in hydration reservoir, so I didn’t even need to carry a water bottle.
But somewhere along the way after an evening of running I stepped off my treadmill and heard and felt a snap in my hip. There was pretty much instant pain. I could barely walk and going up and down stairs was next to impossible.

So, I rested. I iced. I did all the things I knew the doctor would tell me to do. That was back in March. I kept walking though to maintain the hard work I had already put in.
In June and July, we started increasing our hiking because August was coming, and I had set my sights on Mt. Washington. Flat surfaces were fine. Any time we were going uphill or downhill though that pain came back.

On my last day of vacation in July we set out for Mt Chocorua. If I could get through Chocorua I could do Mt Washington.

Except I couldn’t. I was slowing down. Every step came with sharp burning pain. I’d stop and stretch, and I would get a little relief, but then it would start up again. We got within a half mile of the top and the tears started. I felt so frustrated and a bit angry. We had been at this for hours and I knew I couldn’t do it. I had to turn around and go back down. I know I said some things to my family that I regret. I also knew I had to reach out to my doctor. More than anything I knew hiking Mt Washington would not happen this year.

I thought about it on the trek back down. Was this an unrealistic goal from the beginning? Had I not done the work the correct way? Was there something I should have done differently? My answer is no to all of those things.

I won’t get to the top of Mt Washington this year on my 45th trip around the sun. However, I’m not giving up on that goal. Maybe it will be the 46th trip around the sun, or maybe later.

I have taken a detour though. A detour to the doctor and to physical therapy. Last week my physical therapist looked at me and said “No hiking, no running, limited activity. Ice, Rest, Stretch.” I was sad when she told me. This could be a long recovery.

I think back to our chapters of talking about goal setting. We talked about figuring out what we would need, who can support us, what are the small steps that lead us to achieving that goal.

We all know we need to think through what our goals are, plan out the steps, have supporters around us. We know it’s going to take hard work and we are willing to put that work in.

We look forward to achieving that goal. There are times though where we must take detours and our goal may take a little longer to achieve than what we had planned. It doesn’t mean we have failed at it. We still get to be persistent and pursue what we hope and want to accomplish.

So, this week instead of hiking Mt Washington I’ll be in the physical therapy office stretching and strengthening my body. I’ll be resting with an ice pack. The hard work isn’t over yet. I’m going to be persistent and pursue what I want to accomplish.

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