For fun, my house-guests take me on runs. This weekend was no exception as Grant made a pit-stop in the Bay Area for some gabbing, some macaroni and cheesing, and yes, a 16-mile training run as he gets ready to knock out the Eugene Marathon in a few weeks. I joined him on this long run this Saturday, partly to keep him company and partly because it’s been awhile since I went past 9 miles in a row and figured I was up for the challenge.
Since we were running in my town, I played navigator and started us off with my favorite set of hills to get us warm (and make the rest of the miles feel like a cakewalk). After we charged up what Grant later referred to as the Hills of Hades, and started ambling past shingled houses at a 8:30 mile pace, he teased me by quasi-seriously asking the following: “What exactly are you trying to prove by running those hills?”
It’s funny, but until he asked I never thought I was trying to prove anything. But after much thought during the quiet parts of our time on the road, I realized Grant might have a point, which led me to this realization:
I run big hills because I can.
I’m trying to prove that hills are possible. Four years ago, hills were not possible. They were daunting, crazy-hard concepts that I would have rather roller-skated up than run. I still actively remember what it was like to be a more static version of me—a me who did Jazzercise and hit the pool, but not one who really grasped the concept of distance and stamina. And while she was a great person, I much prefer the me of today.
Not running hills means the potential of losing my ability to do so at all, just as not practicing the French horn severely diminishes the possibility that I’ll play Mozart with the cunning charm of a professional. Whether talking about running, biking, swimming, soccer, being social, cooking or writing, I’ll only ever do what I attempt to foster in myself. And therein lies the proof.