Last weekend, yours truly participated in a 15k race that I knew was going to kick my booty. Wanna know why? Because it would be one of the hilliest runs I’ve ever done. I live in a pretty flat area, so if I want to seek out hills it takes a little work. Normally, I’m content to run my usual, flat as a pancake, routes.
I had an 11-13 mile run on the schedule and this little (read less than 400 participants) race came across my Facebook page. It’s a race that’s been around for a long time but I’d never done it before. The cost was low and after consulting with a few of my runner friends, they convinced me that 9.3 miles of constant hills would be as good, if not better, than the 11 or so flat miles I was planning to run that day. I signed up. Then I looked at the map and elevation profile and maybe freaked out a little.
Since I’d never run an official 15k before, I knew it was a PR no matter what happened, but I was more than a little scared of all those hills. On top of the hill aspect, about half the run was on dirt roads (pretty much anything East/West). This girl does NOT run trails or uneven terrain for the very reason that I hate them. But here I was, driving 45 minutes away from home and showing up on a VERY cold Saturday morning, to do something that scared me.
You know what? It wasn’t as awful as I was expecting it to be. At times, it was even bordering on FUN! Not all the time and there were certainly moments when I was pretty sure my legs were going to fall off, but I realized I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. Many times Saturday morning I repeated the mantra “It’s just a hill, get over it!” to myself. The beautiful blue skies, Michigan farm country, and crisp air only added to the experience.
So the next time you look at a race (or workout or meal plan or whatever) and you think “there’s no way I can do this” remember strength comes from doing what scares you and getting outside of your comfort zone. Now I’m off to find more hilly places to run!
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