Everybody Starts Somewhere

*This post was originally shared within the closed Los Angeles chapter on Monday, September 25 2017*

I wanted to share something I witnessed while sweeping yesterday during the Girls Who Hike LA/52 Hike Challenge meetup at Sandstone Peak in hopes that it motivates some of the other ladies who haven't joined us on a group hike yet to get up and DO IT...

We had a girl with us who was towards the back most of the time & she made a few comments throughout the hike referencing that it was tougher for her, even though the loop was not tough for myself personally. There was a comment that "what was fun for me may not be fun for others" which I laughed off, because it's totally true! I learned towards the end of the hike that this was only her 5th (?) hike and her first time going six miles, so it truly was tough for her to complete the loop and she was exhausted afterwards. When I heard that, I literally said "WHAT?! That's amazing!" Because dude... she KILLED it for the fact that she was new at this!

Ladies, do NOT be embarrassed at what your body is capable of. You need to be PROUD of yourself for getting up and getting it done! EVERYBODY STARTS SOMEWHERE. The ladies in this group that have been with us for going on two years now KNOW that phrase for a fact! Our very first meet up was in Topanga State Park and it was like 5 miles and I couldn't keep up with Kara who FLEW up the switchbacks in the beginning! I was out of breath, not even a mile in, at low elevation. And my thought, pretty sure I said it out loud in that exact moment, was "well, this is why we're doing this!". The same week I created GWHLA, I remember climbing Cathedral Rock in Sedona and looking down at my FitBit and going to my boyfriend "holy crap babe, I hiked SIX miles today! I may be too sore to hike tomorrow". Same girl who just completed Kilimanjaro a year and a half later. Everybody. Starts. Somewhere. I have been doing this as a passion project for two years now. A lot of our members have been hiking since they could walk. We must not compare ourselves to others because everybody starts somewhere and others may have started a little bit before you, BUT there was likely a time where they began.. right where you are at that moment.

90% of the ladies who are taking photos of themselves at summits, halfway through 10-15 mile hikes... they didn't just wake up one day and say "I think I'm gonna go hit that place up". No.. they TRAINED for it! You EARN those higher goals and damn, it feels freaking AWESOME when you work your way up to something and you finally knock it out and even though your body feels like crap for two days after, you sit back and you say "I conquered that". Because you made it happen. You got up and you got it done. When you're new to hiking, and I can say this because I was in this boat two years ago.. the hardest hump to get over was working my body up to the 5-6 mile range. Seriously. Once I got over that, I started tackling more. And it felt amazing to see my body get stronger after every hike.

I know social media can be discouraging sometimes. We see other members doing these amazing things and making it look effortless. But that's the thing with social media... unless they write some rambling paragraph about how tough it was or document their training process, you don't see the STRUGGLE they put themselves through in order to get their bodies to that point. This is NORMAL! We ALL have been out at a hike at one point looking at a steep trail ahead, out of breath, thinking "why am I doing this again?". This is the BEAUTY of hiking... we tackle something out of our comfort zones (safely), and we complete that challenge (maybe not the first time but the second or third time), and we congratulate ourselves for pushing the envelope on what we originally thought we could accomplish. Then, we take that newfound confidence and before we know it.... we're applying it to other parts of our lives. Work environment. Relationships. Etc.

I was so proud of every single girl after the hike yesterday. Looking back to my old self, two years ago, before starting GWHLA... if I was a new hiker and there was a meetup out of my comfort zone, I would have been totally intimidated and worried about what others would think of me possibly struggling and not shown up out of anxiety and fear. I hope that by holding these meetups, I'm trying my best to ease those feelings from any other newer member because I have been in their shoes before. If I do something that says otherwise, please let me know so I can learn from the experience.

I think I'll sweep more often if possible, because these meetups for me are about encouraging more ladies to get outside and the ladies in the back of the pack IMO need that one on one time. Not in a negative way, but because I would have appreciated that encouragement if that was me two years ago starting out on this journey.

If you're new to this group and new to hiking, please do not hide behind the computer contemplating when to finally step out on some dirt. Just do it. Who cares if you can only go 2-3 miles before you're dead. We can do a shorter loop meetup if that's what it takes the newer ladies to come out and meet other ladies to start this journey with 🙂 everybody starts somewhere and chances are, there's a couple hundred other ladies in this chapter in your exact same situation... so be PROUD of what you can accomplish, no matter how big or small right now.. because if you're proud and you continue working on tackling tougher trails... you'd be surprised what your body really CAN do! ❤️

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday!

- Sharron


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