So, I've been doing it all wrong.
Last year, when I was training for my half marathon, I avoided hills.
The problem is we kind of live on the top of one.
To really go any kind of distance I'd have to go down one. But, I'd have someone come pick me up so I wouldn't have to go back up.
When I did have to go up one I'd make a really big deal out of it. I'd hype myself up for days.
I think it was because I had set a goal during training and the actual race, to never walk. And even though I could mostly make it up a hill running, I would be dying by the flat part at the top.
Unfortunately, there was this hill near the end of the half-marathon. And it just about killed me.
Going up was fine, but I could barely make it the last mile and a half on the flat part.
A wise friend of mine (and a really good runner) told me she walked the hill since she didn't want to be dead for the last part.
What a concept! You mean, you could walk during a race? Why hadn't I thought of that? Why did I think that walking was against the rules? More specifically, my rules?
This year as I started running I decided I wanted to do hills. Even if I was just going to walk up them. I gave myself permission to just take it easy and not care if I walked a little.
And now guess what? I do hills. Lots of them. And I'm not even walking most of them. I will sometimes walk a little when I get to the top just to catch my breath. But mostly, I just keep running.
And here's where I figure out what I was doing wrong.
I would get myself all psyched out for these hills. I'd look at them and think I can't make it up there. Or I'd think about how tired it would make me by the top of the hill.
Then, while I was running, I would keep looking at how far I had to go and how steep it was. Definitely the wrong way to go about it.
Now, when I come to a hill, I tell myself, "let's just see how far we can make it", or "I'll walk when I get done with this hard part".
Then I just put my head down and watch my feet and maybe a little bit in front of me. I hardly ever look up. I might take a glance about halfway to the top.
But if I'm just watching my feet and pushing along it doesn't seem steep at all, it just happens to be where I am.
Now, here's where I do my analogy thing.
I've been struggling this summer with what seems like this giant hill in my life. It's unavoidable. And I keep looking at it thinking, how am I supposed to do this.
I need to give myself permission to "walk up this hill" if I need to. There is no shame in that.
Then I need to put my head down and keep moving. Focus on what is right in front of me, not what is coming up and may be really hard. This is just where I am.
So even though I don't really want to say, "Give me more hills!" I finally am feeling like I can make it through all of this.
And you know it is a fabulous feeling to get to the top of those hills!