Saturday, February 5, 2011

Running Uphill

Most runners love the flatlands with the level, well traveled surface of the trails frequented by scores of people, training alone in a crowd. I think it is because they enjoy the safety offered on the commonly shared path and the predictability of measured runs. Running for them is a planned training event timed and  measured to achieve a goal set before them.

I spent most of my competitive years following the same routine.  There is no doubt that one can run faster and complete races more efficiently if they follow a prescribed well thought out plan.  

In the summer of 2000, I threw away my stopwatch and quit running on the common runner paths. I searched for the hills and valleys found in natures own trails to transverse each day.  I ran for the pure sake of running. How far or how fast became secondary as I veered off the path and headed for the lightly used hilly trails.

Runners often look at hills as obstacles to be endured along the way. I see hills as opportunities presented to me to reach a vista. I embrace the hills during each run and anticipate the new discoveries that await at the top. Hills have become an important part of my run. Each struggle to the top ends in the revelation that the comfrotable downhill on the other side allows me to relax and enjoy the path I have chosen.

Sometimes the lessons I learn on the run prepare me for the realities of my life journey. When life presents a difficult hill to climb I remember that all hills have an opportunity at the top to relax and enjoy the view. I have climbed a lot of hills, some steeper and longer than other. Some so high I strained to put another foot forward and bent under the pressure of the road.  But the top is always found and peace awaits on the other side.