Earlier this summer, Chad came to me with a bucket list plan he wanted to check off for his 47th birthday. He told me his plan was to run the Rim to Rim to Rim. Before I let my colorful imagination run too wild, with what this might be, I asked him exactly what he meant. When he told me it was a run from one rim of the Grand Canyon to the other and back, I thought that it sounded pretty amazing. Having never even seen the Grand Canyon, I had no idea he was talking about a 48 mile run with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain! Fear and doubt shot through me, leaving me stunned and silent (perhaps the first time for that).
I found it interesting the wide array of fears I was able to identify. I was certainly afraid of the unavoidable suffering. I was afraid of not being able to do it, basically afraid to fail. I was afraid of the judgement of others if I did in fact come up short. I was afraid of the consequences of being trapped in the Grand Canyon and physically not being able to get myself out. This wasn’t an event, we were going to have to support ourselves entirely. What would I need? How would I carry it all? So much self doubt it was overwhelming.
Then I thought to ask Chad who else was going. There is an adage that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with friends.” Many people were asked to join us, but only a few were willing to entertain the idea. What really hooked me on this adventure was the realization that 3 men (Chad, Mark and James) who I love and admire so much, who undoubtedly were navigating the same fears, were at least tentatively on board. I had to ask myself: what was I more afraid of, being a part of a potential disaster, or missing out on a potential experience of a lifetime. The thing that I have come to learn is fear is a pervasive thread that is continually running through our conscious and subconscious minds. The more aware we are of our fears, the better we can harness them and use them for our benefit. Most everyone can identify things about themselves that they would like to change or better. Somewhere inside there are fears of letting go of who we are that block us from becoming who we could be. When we allow our fear of staying the same surpass our fear of changing, it opens our potential for the most beautiful possibilities.
This trip was in fact one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The pain and suffering endured from the miles and miles of challenging terrain all subsided quite easily. The indescribable vistas we witnessed and magnificent pictures we walked away with are really just a faint reminder of the experience. What does remain, and is permanently imprinted in me, is an extraordinarily deep appreciation for these men I traveled with. Having literally been to the edge and back with another human and understanding how much you’ve relied on them creates so much trust and appreciation. This arduous experience above all created a certain rawness and awareness in me. Once you strip away all the crap that society has convinced you that you need, you can appreciate the only thing of real value is the time and love you have with your real brothers and sisters. Be brave and don’t waste the day!