The only time
you should ever look back
is to see how far you’ve come.
By Keith Yates. Cover photo by Rick Trujillo.
Imogene Pass was an old trail leading between the town of Ouray and Telluride, Colorado. It’s the highest pass in the San Juan Mountains. It was built in 1880 and provided access to Ouray from Tomboy Mine. Now it’s the site of a 17 mile run. The first 7 miles of the run go from 7000 feet to 13000 feet in elevation.
As a runner, I’d heard of how amazing and challenging this run was and wanted to experience it for myself. On September 11, 2011, I arrived at the base of the mountain, completely unaware of what lied ahead. At 7 am, in the cold of dawn, I began the run. It started out easier than I imagined. Rolling hills, ups and downs. It was difficult, but not unbearable. I then got to what I would call the true base of the mountain and the elevation spiked quickly. The climb became instantly steep and grueling. I soon realized that calling this a run was a misnomer. My nice steady breaths became heavy pants instantly. My comfortable running pace came to what felt like a screeching halt as I lifted one leg after another. It no longer felt like a run but a climb.
These Texas lungs were gasping for air in elevations that they have never experienced in these Colorado mountains. At one point, I questioned whether or not I could continue the journey. Just as I did, I reached a small plateau where I could catch my breath. In this moment, I imagined pressing forward and mustered up the strength to carry on. I continued up what seemed to be a never ending, steepening climb. At points, I slowed to an almost stop, just doing what I could do to put one leg in front of the other.
At one point, I struggled with the dizziness that was brought on by the altitude. I took that moment to look back, knowing for sure (based what felt like a snail’s pace), that I had not made much progress. Instead, I was stunned to see just how high on this mountain that I had climbed. I was in awe of the accomplishment I had just achieved by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, no matter the pace, or how slowly my progress seemed.
To keep you moving forward, here's a FREE PDF ADULT COLORING PAGE DOWNLOAD*; It features our theme of today: "The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you've come."
As you color this page, consider your own challenges. As you put one foot in front the other, stop to recognize your progress.
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