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  • Mary-Sue Cowell

The Hill

I started jogging again this week. I used to run regularly and even entered a 10k and a half marathon in my past life. It is hard to get back into it but I am surrounded by pathways and roads that have trees, mountains and creeks all around this summer so I thought I would try it again before fall comes. I started like I did in the past jogging and walking alternating as needed.

The other day I set my timer for 16 minutes (1 minute more than last time) with the intention of going down the road 16 minutes then turning around and coming back the same way I went. As I headed up the road I decided to veer off on another trail off the main road that I know loops back around. I wasn't sure the distance or time it would take to do the loop and at the end is a steep hill so I told myself again just to go down the road and turn back when you hit your time thus not being stuck running for too long and avoiding the hill. It was a great morning sun and cloud and not too hot, perfect for jogging. I am grateful I can move my body and be in the fresh air. As I head around the loop I get to the point where I can see the steep hill in the distance and I realize I am going to get close to the hill before the timer goes. I tell myself the hill is too steep and I just started running again so my safest bet is to turn around and go back the way I came.

As I continue and the hill gets closer it doesn't look so daunting and I realize that I just about took myself out of the game before I even gave myself a chance. I decided to do the hill my goal being to jog up it and not stop to walk or catch my breath until I got to the top. The timer went before I met the base of the hill but already I was heading up an incline and I wasn't even at the hill yet. It was hard and I hadn't even got to the base of the hill! Would I make it? Was I crazy? I just started jogging again; what was I thinking? My inner voice filled with fear and doubt began it's babble. I said out loud, "I can do this. It may not be pretty, or fast but I have to try." I began the ascent jogging and continued jogging until I reached the top it was slow, I was breathing heavy and my muscles were screaming but I did it. Yay me! As I catch my breath the view is awesome and I feel proud.

I know the analogy of climbing the mountain is used all the time in goal setting or conquering fears etc. but today when I got to the top of that hill I realized and took a moment to acknowledge that it isn't climbing the mountain that is the hardest part. It's all the little steps before that along the trail that have you convincing yourself you can get to the base of the hill that matter. All those steps where you tell yourself to stop or you're not strong enough or don't have enough experience etc. I almost listened to the babble in my brain and turned around when I first saw the hill that seemed so steep and too hard for me as I'm still just getting back into jogging. All valid excuses... but just that excuses.

Our brains will take the easy road, they will take us out of the game if we let them. I had to consciously decide to do the hill and work my way through all of the thoughts before I even met the hill. What is your hill and what one small step can you take to get to the base for the climb?

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