This has been a difficult week for me. The most difficult section of the trail is southern Maine and New Hampshire.
I crossed into NH on Wednesday and really began to lose miles.
Thursday I made it to 21 miles and planned to summit Mt Madison and Mt Washington before calling it a day. To be sure, we then checked with the park to make sure the road to Mt Washington would be open. Unfortunately, it was about to close.
Without the proper heat with me to camp, I decided to call it a day, get some sleep, and begin again early Friday and make up those miles – beginning with the toughest climbing of the entire trail. The initial ascent up Mt Madison is about 2,700 in 2.5 miles!!! After that, the trail stays above the tree line for about 12-14 miles, eventually making it’s way up to 6,300 feet to summit Washington.
At one point I missed a turn and ended up losing an hour and a half backtracking before starting up Madison. At this point, I was heavily discouraged and moving pretty slow. I felt better on the way down Mt Washington and I was moving well as long as the descent was gradual. These were the most beautiful miles if the trail.
About 3 miles from the road, I had to descend another 2,500 feet, and my knees were killing me. Oh, and the rocks were super slick all day. About 2 miles from the car, my left foot slipped and I did something to my right knee and could hardly walk at this point. Painfully, I continued to limp down to the car. My plan initially was to regroup at the car and push trough the next 28 miles that would take me into the night. But, with the injury I had to decide what was best. I called my PT friend and we decided it was a strained quad tendon. He recommended I rest and ice, as continuing immediately could possibly end my journey completely.
Here, I began to crunch the numbers and realized the record was out of reach. I was destroyed, discouraged, and couldn’t bend my knee. As discouraged as I was though, I slept for quite a while and could actually walk the next day. My knee was sore, but manageable. That morning I began the tough 28 mile section over three 5,000 ft mountains.
If you’ve been waiting for the encouraging part then keep reading.
Within 30 minutes God was pouring himself out to me. I began to think more clearly.
My mind transitioned from “I’ve let everyone down by not breaking the record” to this…
What does it say to the world if I do succeed?
Did I not ask God in the very beginning of this journey to produce the outcome that would bring him the most glory?
If so, what changed Drew?
Do you not trust that God is in control? Do you not believe this is exactly what God desires?
Bear with me here guys, this is good stuff!
What if God wants me to fail? What if he desires to show himself through my failure?
What if success only sends out the message “if you have enough faith, God will make you successful”?
I don’t like that message. God doesn’t ever promise us success on earth. He promises us himself. What if the message God desires to show the world through this story is this, “sometimes you fail, and that’s exactly what I desire.”
I’m not talking about giving up here. I’m talking about fighting tooth and nail to run this trail as fast as I can, and falling flat on my face at the end & failing to break the record.
I think it’s dangerous to link God’s goodness with our success on earth. I’ve never been a fan of the prosperity gospel.
For a long time I have heard that it’s good to fail, but it’s always followed with eventual success. If my willingness to continue to fail is only contingent on my eventual success, then I have missed the point. I may never “succeed” again in my life, and that may be exactly what God desires.
Be content with knowing that you are chasing fully after God himself and all the callings he has on your life.
Run the race so as to win the race. Never let up, never stop giving it every bit of yourself. When you succeed or fail, know that God is in control and bringing forth the outcome he most desires. We are merely a vessel to carry out part of the master plan he has designed.
Thank you guys for praying that God does mighty works though this journey.
By the way, I’m hoping to put in over 300 miles this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.