The Cathartic Climb

I did the annual Kusam Klimb this past weekend (it was my third time), but this year it left me feeling a whole lot more than just extreme fatigue and crazy sore muscles. I was really struck by how many amazing, strong, kick ass women were doing this endurance event. It’s a 23 KM hike, beginning with the climb up Mt. H’Kusam with about 1500 ft of elevation gain. It’s tough! But that’s not all. Once you begin the crazy descent down the other side, you still have SO much further to go! It’s mentally and physically exhausting to push yourself to keep going. But we do. We all did. I was watching these women come through the finish line looking exhausted, spent, but soooo happy and elated. They made it! There were high fives, smiles, hoots and hollers. It was exciting.

When I was coming up on the last leg of the journey, when you’re out of the woods, running the last stretch of road to get to the finish, I couldn’t help but feel a tug of emotion. I had a time goal in mind and finished beyond what I expected. I was doing really well! But the entire week leading up to the event, I barely believed I could improve on my last years time, let alone beat it by over an hour. And in those last moments of all out effort to make it to the end, I realized that I don’t believe in myself very often. In fact I find it very difficult to feel pride in myself, in my body, and in my life. When people compliment me I brush it off. I make an excuse, or I come up with something in my head to completely downgrade it. I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this. More women than not do this every single day.

How many of these women who conquered this race and crossed the finish line, had a negative thought about themselves within an hour after the race, or within the remainder of that day? How many, after proving how awesome they were, immediately went back to pinching their stomach fat, or hating their thighs? How many were on restricted diets and lost out on potential energy if they had just eaten enough to get through the race? How many felt intense hunger after the climb due to burning 2000 or more calories, but wouldn’t allow themselves more carbs? How many did eat a ton of food after, then hated themselves for it later? How many thought to themselves, if I can do THIS, why can’t I control my weight?

When will it end? When will we just be enough? When will we ever just cross the finish line, celebrate ourselves, and keep moving forward in a positive way? I don’t know the answer to that. All I know is that I’m one of those women who struggles. DAILY. But I’m fighting the fight, and I believe I’m winning.

I chose to do these physical feats, these competitions, races, and crazy workouts, to prove to myself and to others that I CAN. Every time I finish something, it’s one more reason for me to be proud. One more reason to celebrate ME. I thought for awhile that it wasn’t good to do these things. I mean, why do I feel I have to prove anything to anyone? But I realized it’s not like that. I don’t feel like I HAVE to prove anything, I feel like I WANT to. I spent the better part of my youth being too afraid to try new things. I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t strong, I wasn’t “popular”. And now I have the opportunity to show the world how great I am, to be an inspiration to others, and to help women realize their potential too.

I want women to know that they’re not alone. That they have the power to change and to be who they want to be. I want them to know that they can climb their way out of self sabotage and self doubt. It took me 3 climbs to realize the cathartic impact this hike has on my messed up self esteem. Will I do it again? Probably! Each successful race, each feat of effort, gets me closer and closer to my SELF. Whether you climb an actual mountain, or a hypothetical one, you’ve got this. We can do it together.

In Wellness & Love, Krista

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