Conquering the Hills © Jacekbieniek |

Last night, my husband and I took our runs together.  It was the longest run I’ve done since moving to our new hilly terrain.  A couple of weeks ago I shared with you how resistant I was to face the hills.  After running on utterly flat terrain for 12 years, I knew my run experiences which had grown to be somewhat easy and predictable would be hard and unpredictable.

We decided to run the route my husband has been running for the last few weeks. I had not experienced some of these hills before.  About halfway into our run, we decided, at the last moment, to turn down a street neither of us had run before. We ran for a bit, turned the corner and there stretched out in front of us was what turned out to be the second most intimidating hill of the night. We couldn’t help but vocalize our reaction upon seeing it. Wow!

As I ran down and then up, I was reminded that hills are tackled the same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time.

By the time we reached the hardest hill my legs were exhausted. Unfortunately (or fortunately…depending on your perspective) there is no other option but to go up this hill.  It’s the only route that leads us home.

As we climbed, my left hip began to hurt. I didn’t want to stop and walk but I made the choice to let up and finish the hill by walking for a minute. When the terrain leveled off I started to run again. I noticed something pretty cool.  60 seconds was all my hip needed.  My hip wasn’t hurting and I was able to finish my run strong.

I learned another lesson last night. Sometimes as you run towards your goal the best choice you can make is to ease up on the gas for a bit. Sometimes the way to success is to make a slight shift in your approach and in your plan. You might discover what I discovered last night.  The pain goes away and you are able to finish strong.

Choosing to modify is not a sign of failure but a sign of growth. 

6 thoughts on “Conquering the Hills

  1. bill (cycleguy)

    After riding my bike on flat ground for close to 20 years, we moved to central Indiana. Flat ground is a misnomer around here. At first, i wondered how I would do. My previous forays into hills had been challenging with a capital “C”. After 8 years here, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I found out so much about myself. Climb at my own pace. Don’t try to keep up with others beyond what I can do. (Ain’t no way at 60 and 6’5″ and 210 pounds I can keep up with the whippets I have ridden with. I also learned one pedal stroke at a time. Good lessons Eileen.

    1. Eileen Post author

      Love this, Bill! It’s amazing how the thing we dread sometimes ends up being the thing we end up cherishing the most after putting in some effort!

  2. Carol Peterson

    Oh! What an insightful post. And great advice. Ease up toward the end if you need to. Not only will it lessen the pain but will make the journey more pleasurable.

    Thanks Eileen!


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