16 Jun A Ego Lost Can Be A Good Thing :o)
Palm Springs tram to San Jacinto peak (11 miles + 2,300’ gain, all above 8,500 feet)
Palm Springs Tram – Photo by Don Graham Flickr
When I hike I don’t stop to pick any buttercups. Hiking up I don’t get passed very often. I was really surprised when two charming young girls caught me. I usually hike alone so having companions would have been fun. But the taller gal, the frequent marathoner, motored away right away. Dutifully; the young gal stayed with me for a mile before sprinting to the peak.
On the summit we shared the view and chatted a few minutes; but then it was TIME! Running down I less often get passed. To reduce the chance, I bolted while the ladies were fussing with their gear.
Halfway down the hill I was still fresh and making really good time but I hadn’t seen a person or a sign in thirty minutes and the trail had flattened out then disappeared. A trail in the forest is not hard to follow if you’ve already hiked it, but not if you are going the opposite way and you didn’t take the time to look back or read the signs. When I tried to retrace my steps I saw many trails, most of which I tried; some twice. None were helpful. My orientation was completely scrambled.
An overnight stay was looming large. An hour later the shadows were shouting, “This is feeding time for cougars.” I wondered if the one who got me would consider me special or just food. And what would he or she do with my new state-of-the-art cell phone and running shoes, or the T-shirt and shorts I would otherwise need for warmth during the night.
Why that old geezer was running there in the middle of nowhere I will never know. He wasn’t easy to catch on the other side of the wash or grasp what he said in the few minutes he gave me before he split. His directions were so vague. They pointed me into a canyon far more desolate than the one I was in. A mile in I was to hike along the base of vertical granite walls above steep canyons. The series of cliffs seemed to go forever. The game trail I was supposed to find near the end was not there.
Looking back from the wrong side of the next canyon I saw a segment of the trail I thought I had missed. I doubled back, found the entrance, and followed it to the footpath that would eventually get me to the tram. With less than three minutes to spare I joined the tram workers as they boarded the last tram for the bottom.
That was a far cry from the triumphant rendezvous and tram ride with the ladies I had envisioned. Without knowing they were racing, they beat me by two hours and gave me a lesson in humility so thorough and unexpected that three years later it still brings a smile to my face.
The Imperative – Those who track their time while training do 15% better overall than those who don’t.
It causes you to press the limits of your abilities more correctly and completely.
The take-away – If you go at life as if you are competing (even though you may have embarrassing setbacks on occasions) you will make better use of your capabilities and your turn at bat.
The laugh – When you’re leading with your ego it is easy to miss the signs.