by Patrick Reed
Maybe it is so that there are two types of runners: those who thrive when the hills get high, and those who dream only of the effortlessness of endless downhill strides. Then again, maybe there is only one type of runner: she who loves the hills… until she finds herself awash in their agony.
The hill is like the storm of life. It is inevitable, and when you meet it head-on, which you will, you best be prepared for the struggle. The storms of life are coming – or, for many of us, have come. For those of us who have fought and lost or who have fought and weathered the storm, we know that more must come still. Maybe it is the cost of eternity being “set into our hearts,” as the Bible says. Because our souls are the stuff of eternity, we suffer the pangs of the finitude of this life. And running seems much the same. Thus, we hearken back again and again to the metaphor that is our passionate daily pursuit: distance running.
“The hill is like the storm of life. It is inevitable, and when you meet it head-on, which you will, you best be prepared for the struggle…”
Yes, the upward course is finite — yet the pursuit is for an eternal prize. The hill has an end, yet lost in its switchbacks and swimming in its invisible dips and hollows, we faithless forget its finitude. Limitless in our dreams, we lose eternity in our daily endeavors. And so the hill becomes one of the preeminent metaphors of the eminent metaphor of distance running.
I am running uphill these days. I suppose you may be, too. Life keeps sending out volleys of negativity. That is one type of hill. Yet, how we attack those volleys may be the more defining component of the hill. Should we tremble at the foot of the mountain, fearful of the long pain ahead, we are already wasting in agony before we have set foot upon the obstacle. On the other hand, if we stare courageously into the struggle, remembering all along the reason for the fight, we will win a battle even before entering into the great war.
Take hills one step at a time. Bracket the full effort into doable parts. Accomplishing each, reflect on that little victory, and then press on. Little by little, running within yourself, you will overcome this challenge.
The next time you confront the self-same hill, it will loom a little smaller.
Never ever ever ever give up.
image credit: stevejoseph.ca
“If the hill has its own name, then it’s probably a pretty tough hill.”
“Hills are speedwork in disguise.”
“If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.”
“It’s a hill. Get over it.”
-Seen on the back of a runner’s T-shirt