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The Pavilion on the Hill - Keeping Yourself Grounded

Only locals and the tourists who have stayed close will know the Ahwatukee Foothills. There are miles and miles of trails in our back yards, many that have featured in my posts and photos.

The most prolific is a stone pavilion that sits atop the most popular part of the trail. It is a simple structure but one that has come to symbolize my fitness journey, and one that has parallels with how ambition can drive, distract and even divert.

On August 4th, I set out on the hike, planning to make it to the roadway (this was my normal ambition) - it is a part of the hike I can now do in 30 mins. For some reason that day I decided to go further to the pavilion - I had done it (years) before, so did not think much of it.

What seemed like an age later, I got to the pavilion, and my heart was beating out of it's chest (I remember checking my polar monitor) - over 160 BPM. While panting madly, I saw there was a young (well younger than me) guy sat in the pavilion, so I attempted to speak to him through my labored breathing.

He was the person who told me about the notebook on the other side of the trail (that I cover in Hiking in the Dark Park 2) - I could tell by his demeanor (and my breathing) that he thought there was zero chance I could get that far without an oxygen tent.

That became a motivation for me.

August 4th September 5th

Fast forward to today, just over a month later. I just got back from an early hike, where I went well past the pavilion, in the same week that I hiked Bear Mountain and Cathedral Rock in Sedona (both breath-taking - in a literal and a figurative sense).

I also did the hike to the roadway this week as a warm up before an hour boxing in the gym.

My condition is better than it has been for years (although my wife barely drew breath on the hikes mentioned!) but I am conscious that this is a long journey.

Although now the pavilion is a relative easy, I want to treat it with the respect and revery it deserves - I think of it as my "This is Anfield" or "Play Like a Champion Today" signs in Liverpool and Notre Dame.

The players touch the signs as a mark of respect and also a recognition of where they are. They have achieved a goal (playing for the Reds or the Fighting Irish) but they need to keep grounded to stay where they are.

There is a need to keep humble and keep the fight and drive going to succeed - if you get too conceited or rest on your laurels thinking you have made it, that is when you fall.

I am not sure how much longer I will be doing the Telegraph Pass hike but I will always remember the little pavilion. Today it struck me that now I made it passed the pavilion, to the top of the trail, it seems so small and insignificant compared to the landscape. In the past it felt daunting.

I think we all need to remember our own pavilions, the things in our lives that were milestones and even if they are long passed, they should be respected.

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