A friend asked me the other day what race I would recommend she should attempt to run as her first road race. She made the comment, “I want a nice easy race. No hills, nothing too tough. It must be as flat as possible.”
The ironic thing is that with running, the flat races are sometimes the most boring. They might appear easy but in the long run, they don’t provide much of a challenge. All you’ve got is the road ahead of you where your pace is unlikely to change much and your body is kept at a consistent level of exertion.
You see, the races that come with rolling hills are tough, but when you push yourself up the hills, the joy of reaching the top and the feeling of speeding up and letting yourself go on the downhills is fantastic. The mental negotiation you have between your mind and your body as you fight the urge to stop running and the freedom you feel when you reach the top and cruise downhill is victorius. You learn so much about yourself when you force your body to go beyond its limits and to succeed.
I guess most of us wish for those flat races, those times when everything runs smoothly, calmly and there are no bumps in the road to upset our plans. However, life is never that easy. It’s only by dealing with the up hills and overcoming the stresses of those difficult times in our lives that we learn to appreciate things more and learn more about ourselves.
Today’s rat race, with all its stresses and problems, is not easy, no matter what type of runner (or walker) you are. But often, it’s worth welcoming the up hills in our lives because once we push through, the rewards are worth it.