Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hill running and life lessons

Coach has amped up my half marathon training recently. So I ran hills...with a stroller. 
You're thinking the downhill would be easier and faster, I'm thinking you've never run hills. 
Uphill is brutal, downhill is a race to catch up without slamming your feet into the ground trying to slow down or over striding. Hill running is about balance.  Too fast and you are eating pavement, too slow and you are crushing your feet, knees, etc. Balance. It was a short run and it was brutal. You work hard for running gains, you work hard for life goals. For some reason I felt like telling my son about hill running so the first 5 minutes I talked about how to run hills. Quick short steps up, longer strides down...but not too long. 
My hill running mantra has always been "what goes up must come down." This translates into it's not always difficult, it will get easier. Every runner has a hill mantra. 
Or else they walk hills. :)

Then I went on a brief tangent about how life is like hill running, some of the best life lessons are hills. And it is true. Sometimes you are coasting on an easy flat. Then you hit some small hills, little inclines that challenge you. And one day...bam...that hill. You know the one. The grade is so steep you literally feel like you aren't moving anymore. 
Yea, I know. Almost too obvious for a life analogy. I thought grad school was THAT hill for me.
I knew nothing. 
That was just a speed hump.
No.
Now is THAT hill.
Right effing now.
And apparently I haven't been training for hills lately.

I told my therapist I felt lost in session number 2. But it's more like I feel like I am busting my ass to stay still. Running THAT hill and going nowhere. No forward motion happening. He told me to write until I didn't feel that way. I wrote one sentence and realized that lost feeling, that inner silence, that not moving sensation...it's me taking a break.

Wait for it.

Yes. I haven't taken a real break to think about what I want out of life in who knows how long. I've just been going. Coasting from one opportunity to another. But this last time I ignored the inner voice that's been guiding up those hills and along the flats. I made a pragmatic decision. And I was wrong.
Gasp.
Doesn't happen often, but when it does...akin to running barefoot on pavement.
Really bad idea.
So, with the support of my husband I undid that decision. And I was left with silence.

Silent hill climbs are insanely terrifying.

I thought my inner voice, my mantra chanter, my guide got pissed off and left me.
Nope.
She had done her job. So she sat back and savored the quiet. And the moment I quit typing and put pen to paper I realized this wasn't a flat I was coasting, this was it. This was THAT hill. The one that would break me before I finished it. But ultimately, leave me stronger than I could ever imagine.

So don't mind me. I'm not 'just' a mama.
I am mama.
I’m a mama with unfulfilled potentials.
I’m a mother running PhD.
I'm rad.
I'm not lost at all.
I am right where I am meant to be right now.

About ten minutes after my talk on our run, after cruising in silence for a bit, my son randomly pipes up
"Don't give up, mama."
No worries little man, I didn't.
Taking this damn hill one effing step at a time.