Virtual Hiking Update: Why I Refuse to Panic About My Deadline

My Hadrian’s Wall virtual hike is nearing the end. There’s only 11 days left but Dory and I still have 23 miles to go. If we had been able to keep to our earlier pace, we’d have a doable 12 miles left, but my assumption that things would get easier as we got farther into the spring has proven completely wrong.

It seemed obvious that as summer approached, the weather would warm up and there would be more nice days for taking a walk. Initially, the weather did improve and made walking a pleasure. But instead of a steady gradual improvement in conditions, the weather has been erratic at best.

Some of our warmest days were also horribly windy. The howling of the wind around our house was so bad that I could barely stand it while I was indoors. Going out to walk in the maelstrom seemed impossible.

Dory riding in Kurt's vest during a hike too cold and snowy for her. She's ready for spring!
Dory riding in Kurt’s vest during a hike too cold and snowy for her. She’s ready for spring!  photo by Dana Geary

We’ve also had some winter flashbacks. Right now, we’re in the middle of a snow storm. Lots of heavy, wet snow coming down steadily, making it too cold and too wet for Dory to be out. So we’re losing time even as I type.

If I’d thought about it, I might have realized I couldn’t count on the weather. But I was certain that as my fitness improved and I got in the habit of walking nearly every day, it would get easier to reach 94.5 miles of walking. I was right and wrong about this one.

My fitness has improved and I look forward to our walks. But because of the bad weather days, I’ve found myself at the gym, taking a yoga class or lifting weights, to get my exercise fix. Great news, except that I’ve remembered how much I love yoga. I’m back to three classes a week, plus our weekly training session, so on those four days it’s hard for me to find the time for a long walk as well.

As far as improving my own fitness goes, this is a win-win. But helping Dory build up some endurance before we start our mountain hiking season was one of my goals. Without our walks, she doesn’t get the training she needs.

If we take our long  walk for 10 of the coming 11 days, we can still finish the virtual hike on schedule. But a quick look at this week’s weather forecast has me wondering when exactly these walks are going to happen.



If we don’t meet the mileage goal, I will still consider this project a major success. We’ve already walked over 70 miles since March 17th, and we would never have gotten out this much if I hadn’t set a goal. Dory’s in better shape than she was, and so am I. Also, I’ve had fun while getting some exercise.

So I’ve decided not to panic. It won’t really matter how many miles we’ve covered by the time the 23rd rolls around.

Only it does. Despite the obstacles that have cropped up, that competitive part of me will do its best to get those last miles walked before time runs out.

Have you had unexpected obstacles crop up when trying to reach the goals you set? How did you deal with them? Is reaching the goal you set more important than what happens along the way?

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