Today I ran up a mountain in my home town. And back down again.
There’s a running/mountain biking trail a group of us have done quite a few times. It’s a 5k run down the side of a mountain, and then back up. There’s a fairly steep bit right at the top that you almost have to crawl up. I definitely haven’t mastered it yet, but it is getting easier.
Which is why when one of the girls suggested I do the road run before hand, I said yes. Hey, it seemed like a good idea. And then I started thinking about it properly. See, the road run adds another 3.75km each way to the circuit. So 7.5km more than I was already going to do. They start at a carpark at the bottom of the mountain, run to the start of the track and then run back down after the track.
Once I’d said yes I started crunching the numbers. A total of 12.8km. Half uphill. And Heartbreak Hill, instead of being at the end of the 5th kilometre, would be at the end of the 9th!
So this morning, while I was driving to the meeting point, I was composing the reasons why I couldn’t do this, and how I was going to explain to the others why I was pulling out. I couldn’t do it. I was kidding myself. I’m not that fit/athletic/strong yet. I’ll get there, just not right now.
But when I got there the others were so enthusiastic and encouraging that I felt I would be letting them down if I didn’t do it! So I just did. And it nearly killed me. My feet and legs were jelly at the end, my stomach was about to expel my breakfast, and my head was spinning. I was dripping with sweat and had totally run out of dry places on my shirt to wipe my face.
But I did it! There will never again be a first time. As I get fitter and stronger it will get easier (and yes, I will do it again!) I am not where I want to be yet, but I am a hell of a lot further along than I was. I will always be a “work in progress”, that’s inevitable. Once you stop improving you stop living. So there isn’t an end point to this journey, merely a whole lot of rest stops along the way.