By now I’m sure you have all heard of Heather ‘Anish”Anderson and her recent unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail. She hiked 2,189-miles in 54 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes. There was no team hooking her up with Big Macs and protein bars, shuffling her pack for her, or giving her rides into towns. There was no champagne celebration on top of Mt.Katahdin.

For the past few years I’ve been following Anish’s adventures on her blog and facebook page, silently cheering her. She’s been inspiring and motivating the masses with her humility and perspective on life and hiking.

Here’s what I’ve learned from Anish.

  • Hiking, like life, is simply the process of putting one foot in front of the other. By the time Anish was in college she weighed 200 lbs, and according to her TED talk, she couldn’t even jog around a track and had never backpacked. But she became strong by putting one foot in front of the other.

  • It’s not cliche to “find yourself” on the trail. While many of us aren’t thru-hikers I think we’ve all had moments of extreme clarity on the trail, those “Ah-ha!” moments when we know exactly which path we are supposed to take.
  • Hike because it makes you happy.
  • You have a story to tell, be brave enough to tell it. Sure, it’s brave to take on a record on the PCT or AT but it’s also crazy brave to stand on a stage and talk about your experiences on the trail. Anish’s TED talk is raw, gripping and moving. I don’t know that I would have the courage to stand on a public stage and speak with such sincerity.

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  • Do your best. In a recent interview with Trailside Radio Anish said that when she’d wake up her mantra would be, “be the best hiker that you can be today.” I like that a lot, I’ll be the best mother that I can be today, the best wife that I can be today, the best hiker that I can be today…even if I’m matching my 2-year-olds slow stride.” It’s not about comparing ourselves to others, just being our best.
  • She’s human. She sometimes has feelings of defeat and doubt. When Anish published this to her facebook wall I read it over and over and over again.

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  • Don’t be afraid of big, scary, crazy goals. “My motivation wasn’t coming from a competitive place. I just wanted to see what I could do for myself. I wanted to see what was possible,” Anish told Backpacker about her 2013 PCT speed record.

Here’s where you can go to be inspired by Anish.

Anish’s blog- Run, Hike, Live, Love & Facebook page

Gear Junkie-“Woman Sets New Unsupported AT Record

KUOWG-Seattle-Area Woman Breaks Appalachian Trail Speed Record

Is there someone who inspires and motivates you? Maybe you don’t even know them but you read what they read and suddenly feel like you can take on the world? Who is that person and why?

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