Shoot for the stars and you just might hit the moon... there's lots of these out there. And there is a reason for that.
The steep M trail in Bozeman used to be a bit of a nemesis for me. Its so very steep that sections of it are hard to hike up without slipping back down. Its long, and the higher up you go, the steeper it gets. This is why its great great great to train on.
When I was first hiking this trail this year, it was all I could do to focus on getting up to the M once. The trail continues all the way up another 2/3 the distance to the ridge, only steeper!
I was determined to get my fitness to a place where I could hike happily to the ridge. This was my summer goal. In order to push my way through it, I started making little milestones... Okay, I made it to the little rocky shelf. Whew!
Wow, I now made it to where the trails merge... then to the only flat spot on the trail... here's that tree I can pull on... and then, finally, the ridge.
It took weeks for me to stop pussing out at certain spots on the trail, and while I was trying to make myself get to the top, I kept telling myself, okay, you have to hike at LEAST 10 feet past your high point from the LAST time we tried this.
My ideas about how to suck it up and get to the top changed dramatically after Ben Roberts sent me the book Annapurna, and I really realized what it would be like to look across a whole range of mountains, trying to route find through them, rather than seeing them as obstacles in my way.
I decided to focus on the first peak as a destination, rather than the ridge. When I moved that goal to a loftier goal, I noticed that the little plateaus started falling away. I hiked right past the M and the first outcropping of rocks without even noticing.
When I moved my goal to the second peak, I didn't notice the little stopping places at all!
When I moved my goal to the top of Mt. Baldy, gaining the ridge became easy...
I think its hugely important to dream big, or, to not put a cap on your dreams. When you put a limit on what you think you might achieve, you not only make your journey to that close goal more difficult, you may just be selling yourself short on what you can truly accomplish.
So, of course, being Kate, I like to think not shoot for the stars, but shoot for an entire alien galaxy, because even if you don't get there, you might go somewhere you never even knew existed!!