Hill. The dreaded 4-letter word. A mere mention of the word and runners are quick to respond. I hear it all the time-the sighs and groans of runners-in-training at the base of a hill.
The last couple of weeks with Team In Training (TNT), were spent focusing on hills. We worked on drills at track and practiced hill repeats in preparation for our runs at Pacifica and Portola. Our 10-mile run in beautiful Pacifica started at the base of a long hill. And Portola turned out to be a 12-mile hiking adventure, instead of a run, for some.
Runners freely expressed their feelings about the hills.
"Are you ready for the hill?"
"This is going to be painful."
"I'm gonna die."
"Let's get this over with!"
As a seasoned runner, I too, can feel dismayed just hearing those comments. It makes a little hill sound like a huge mountain, which can be discouraging. When I run, I try not to think of the hill in front of me. I find it better to face the hill one step at a time rather than look at it as one long hill. If you look at the hill as a whole, it will defeat you before you start your climb.
Life is like a hill. If we look too far into our future and speculate what may or may not be, we can get overwhelmed. The bible reminds us that we only need to be concerned about today.
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things." (Matthew 6:34)
Hills will make you stronger. It will also add variety to our runs. We may not welcome hills, but it's good to face them because we will eventually run into a hill and it is better to be prepared for them. As in life, adversities make us stronger. We learn from our problems and grow. We become better people-better able to handle future adversities.
Our running coach recommends that when running hills, we do the following: shorten our stride, keep the same cadence, keep our body upright, and look a few feet in front of you (not at your feet nor the top of the hill). That's great advice when we tackle a problem in life. When we are faced with our own hills of life, it is better to handle a problem one at a time, keep our spirits high, stand tall, and take it day-by-day.
When I feel discouraged, on my runs, I always think about my team honorees. They are my source of encouragement. They are fighting cancer-the ugliest hill no one wants to face, but they do.
So whenever I feel that the hill is too hard for me to conquer, I think about how much tougher it is for my honorees to endure the physical pain and mental challenges of cancer.
"Every hill in life is too high if we think we must climb it all at once. But no hill is insurmountable if we take it one step forward at a time, with God." ~ Dave Branson.
Now go tackle that hill!