I recently took a trip to Ouray, CO. I found a place on this earth perfect for me where people love to be outdoors and hike and enjoy life and get outside at all hours no matter what. While I didn't run any while in Colorado (even thought I tried to get my friends to stay an extra day so I could run a 1/2 marathon) I did summit my first ever 14er on my first ever true hike. It was amazing and I felt so accomplished to achieve something that is probably close to as rare as running marathons, if not more.
On our way home while we were driving through the mountains - I started reflecting on my achievement of the mountain and how it relates to my running and racing. I came to the realization that the reason I love to run and race so much is because it is the one thing in my life I feel I have complete control over. No one and nothing but myself can affect my running completely. Sure weather, lack of sleep, other conditions can affect a run - but ultimately it is just me and the road. If I finish a race, if I PR, if I push myself harder is only controlled by my own mind. I love the control I give myself while running and how rewarding it is to succeed.
Much is the same for hiking. While I went in a group of 3 people, only I could ultimately control if I made it to the top. There was one section where you had to climb up a rock slide - not a big deal I don't mind crawling up rocks; but then on the way down you have to come down this slide of rocks - much scarier! One of the hikers in my group put up the white flag and said she wasn't going. I had the choice to say "yea I agree I'm scared and this is crazy" but instead I said "I'm doing this, i've come this far and I'm not failing now!" The reward was a marvelous view from the top of Uncompahgre Peak in the San Juan mountains.