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  • Writer's pictureEmily Breeden

My Camera Made Me Do It

It’s funny how the simplest little actions and choices can take you on different paths, and create a chain reaction for other experiences in your life. “The butterfly effect,” if you will.

I have a story about how buying a new camera caused me to sign up for my first Half Marathon, when I wasn’t even a runner. I’ll try to keep it focused because there are a lot of parts to it…

Earlier this summer, I was driving back to Boise from Salt Lake City, and decided to take a detour to Shoshone Falls, about 2 hours from Boise. It was right after my breakup, and I felt my gut telling me to make a stop there. I had passed by the “Shoshone Falls” signs a few times before that, but always felt obligated to rush home after work trips. This time I thought, “Well now I have nothing to rush home for… except maybe my cat… and… loneliness?… I am stopping to see this waterfall, darnit!”

As you can tell from the picture below, it was worth the stop. Shoshone Falls is breathtakingly beautiful. I got out, walked around, and took some pictures with my phone… but all I could think about was how much more there is to explore in my new state of Idaho, and how it was probably about time for me to invest in a nice camera! Not that iPhone pics are bad, but I had always been curious about photography and suddenly became inspired to have a “treat yo self” moment at Best Buy.

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After spending a chunk of change on a new Cannon Rebel, I naturally thought, “I need to get my money’s worth with this thing and go on a hike and get some practice!”

The day after buying my new toy, I looked a random hike up nearby on I saw how close it was, but didn’t realize how long the loop was…. got all the way to the trailhead when I realized that it was a 14 mile long loop. Whoopsie. If you know me, you probably aren’t surprised… it’s becoming a known fact that I am terrible at mapping out hiking or running routes before starting them. Yeah, I know, I need to work on that.

Harnessing my inner No Barriers spirit, I decided that I was at the trailhead already, so I was just going to suck it up and do the whole loop. What else did I have going on that day (besides my cat, and loneliness?) Nothing!

After just a few miles in, I wanted to turn around. I had gotten some cool pics and the trail was getting steeper… did I really want to hike 7 miles up a mountain in the Boise National Forest… only to have to hike all the way back down?

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As the hike got harder, and my legs were turning to jello, I started thinking maybe I could turn the woods into my new home. I could just… learn how to hunt, start fires and live in a cave or under a rock or something, right? I could become one with the rattlesnakes.

Between the HOT afternoon sun beating down on me, my legs KILLING, and running out of water a little too quickly… It was brutal! Another hiker passing me noticed my struggle, and gave me some of his water (He was waaaaayyy more prepared than me! He also saw a rattlesnake sticking out in the trail and stopped me from running into it… gosh I am grateful I ran into that guy!).

I always hear this from hikers/climbers/mountaineers (people more extreme than I) and I never knew what it meant, but despite my whole body hurting, the mental part was, by far, the biggest challenge. Besides the aforementioned Helpful Hiker guy, the other thing that got me through it were various mantras I started saying in my head. I basically switched off between… “YES-I-CAN! YES-I-CAN!” (one word each time I took a step)… counting to 100 (one count per step)… and some other mantras that had a few more swears than the first one, like “F*CK-YES-I-CAN-FINISH-THIS-F*CKING-HIKE!” They were in my head, and I was in the middle of nature, so I was allowed to swear as much as I damn well pleased! 🙂

Focusing on positive mantras, on my breath, and on counting/being mindful of my steps helped turn my hike into a moving meditation and actually got me all the way back, 6 hours after I started. Once I saw my car, and knew I made it and wouldn’t have to become One With the Rattlesnakes, I remember feeling soooo energized and happy. I felt like I had accomplished the impossible. It was such a great feeling at the end to know I DID IT! 14 freaking miles!

I was so proud of myself for finishing that hike that I decided right then and there (literally, I was still sitting in my car… I think I was stuck there for a while, in pain) to sign up for the City of Trees half-marathon in Boise. It was 3.5 months away, that was plenty of time to prepare, right? Who cares that I had never run more than 2, maybe 3 miles at a time in my life? I did that hike, so I could do anything… right?… (in my next post I’ll talk about HOW I’ve been getting ready for this race, which is now in 20 days!!)

So yeah… buying a new camera caused me to sign up for my first Half Marathon.

Never underestimate where small decisions and seemingly “random” forks in the road will lead you. 🙂

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