Embracing Hardship

Liz, Grace, TJ, and Coach Rachel.

Liz, Grace, TJ, and Coach Rachel.

If you haven’t heard yet, a group of City Liners has decided to hike Mt. Washington this summer. Mt. Washington is the highest point in New England and the mountain most well-known for its unpredictable, sometimes deadly weather. It holds the world record for land-based wind speeds at 231 mph and gets snow throughout the year.

To prepare, we arranged a few training hikes leading up to the big one on July 13th, and this Sunday, May 19th, was our most recent. We’d prepared to hike for about 6.2 miles up to 2400’ elevation. An easy hike to break in and test our gear.

Or so we thought.

See, weather is unpredictable in the White Mountains, and the roads aren’t always open this time of year. Though the rangers said that the road leading to the trailhead was open, it was only open to the campground at the start of the road.

So we unexpectedly had to hike to the trailhead.

We thought it would be about 2.5 miles there and mostly flat. “Ok. It’s a little extra, but we’ll just get some more practice, more time to really test our gear and see how it does.”

It was not 2.5 miles to the trailhead. It was not flat.

We hiked uphill for 4.6 miles. Just to get to the trailhead.

And then we hiked up the trail.

And then we hiked back down. All told, it was 6.5 hours of hiking over 12.2 miles. That was much more than we expected.

Our feet hurt. Our knees and hips hurt. We were tired. Where the car was parked felt so far away.

But not one person complained, had a short fuse, or was anything but focused, determined, and quick to laugh and support the others.

Without intending it, we had embraced hardship.


See, shit happens. It’s just a fact of life that things are going to go a little haywire sometimes. Plans will go awry, and the way we choose to respond to the inevitable challenges and setbacks that occur makes all the difference. What could have been a group of miserable, irritable, disappointed people became a team that supported and made each other laugh. We crossed over waterfalls together.

How do we learn to embrace hardship?

1) We CHOOSE hardship. We make it a habit. Pick a daily hardship, a weekly hardship, and a quarterly hardship.

Want to make the Mt, Washington hike a quarterly hardship for this year? Email rachel@crossfitcityline.com

2) On Saturday, I’ll be sharing an exercise that I teach at the Mindset Seminar that literally rewires our brains to see the positive, rather than the negative.

Rachel Binette