Running has taught me to love hills. It has not always been so.
The second run I ever participated in was a 10k (approx. 6 miles) run on Thanksgiving morning. The day of this “Turkey Trot” was a balmy 19 degrees at the start of the race.
Unbeknownst to me, the first mile of the race was uphill. All my running till then had been on relatively flat roads, and a half-mile in and I was desperately sucking wind. Another tenth and I had slowed to the slowest possible pace. Any slower and I’d have been going backwards. Little old ladies on walkers were passing me.
My only bright spot was when I finally passed another runner. He was about my age and in much better shape, but he twisted his ankle. After being assured he was ok, I inched past him with a smile hidden inside. I’m not one to rejoice in another’s misery, but the euphoria of passing someone was a temptation too sweet to resist.
Another tenth and I heard an odd clumping sound behind me. Not wanting to waste the energy of looking over my shoulder, I dutifully trudged my way up the hill putting one toe in front of the other. As the sound drew near, I chanced a glance to my side. The dude with the sprained ankle was hobbling up the hill past me. Only by God’s grace did I resist the urge to take out his other leg.
I did finally finish the race, but from that day I promised myself that my training would always include hills. Training hills increases my speed in the race. It builds my perseverance for hilly courses. Enduring difficulty now leads to success later.
God designs hills in the race set before each of us. No life is without them. When we learn to love instead of avoid them, they become a blessing.
Love the hills. Run well. Finish strong.