Hill Repeats

I started running a couple of years ago. That first day I couldn’t run for 30 seconds straight without feeling like I was going to die. Over a year I worked up to running 2 miles. Yes, it took me that long. I wanted to run, but not very badly.

Last October I found some inspiration (and a new job with higher pay) and hired a personal trainer. He’s a lot more dedicated than I am. I dream about being that dedicated. Mostly I look at the workouts that he sends me and laugh. There is no way I can do THAT! Silly boy. What is he thinking??? But I show up. I log miles, slowly but surely.

Yesterday was one of those days. I’m supposed to be getting out of bed early and working out in the morning when it’s 70 degrees outside. I prefer to sleep during that time though. So I workout after work when it’s 90 degrees and a million % humidity. It makes it so much easier.

Yesterday was the always dreaded hill repeats. For those of you who don’t run it means exactly what it says – running up and down a hill, repeatedly. Five times to be exact. The last time I did this was in February when I was pretending to be a morning person and was freezing at 5:30am in a park somewhere in downtown Charlotte. It was more like walking up the hill and walking quickly down the hill. Not a lot of running involved. A lot more gasping for air though.

The first one wasn’t so bad. I actually ran the whole way. As I neared the top a nice lady walking in her driveway stopped to say “Good job! That’s a rough hill!” That was exactly what I needed. I respond very well to encouragement and praise.

I rocked the second and third ones. The fourth one was a bit more tough, but I managed.

After the fourth one I stood at the bottom of the hill for a couple of minutes. I had to catch my breath. The inhaler wasn’t helping anymore. I could only think about what it would feel like to finish this workout. I know what it’s like to ignore the workouts. Guilt and frustration and irritation. I didn’t want that… again.

So I took a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other… all the way up to the top. It wasn’t the fastest, but I RAN!!! I ran up that hill 5 times! That is major progress for me! I couldn’t do that 4 months ago and I never would have even dreamed about it 2 years ago.

It got me thinking about why I seem to have the same struggles in my life over and over again. I always thought that it was because I was failing and couldn’t seem to understand why. But maybe I’m not failing at all. Maybe I get the same things to make me stronger, to learn how to deal with them better each time.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? If you can make it up the hill, running, walking, or crawling, you will eventually get stronger. That’s what it’s for. That’s why my coach tortures me with this craziness.

I felt like I could conquer the world after I made it to the top of the hill. I rocked out the remaining 2.5 miles of my run and the 100 squats and 100 lunges assigned to me.

The only thing I couldn’t do was walk up the stairs to my apartment after that.

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