Last Thursday, I was tired. Just plain tired. With my social life’s recent shot in the arm (a positive thing, right?), my once-sharp vigilance over my bedtime had disappeared, but wake-up time remained at the same pre-dawn hour. Add to that a string of uber-draining days at work, plus my realization that I had committed the absolute sin of forgetting a friend’s birthday, and the result was: ARGH.
By the end of that day, I was leaning more and more towards skipping my post-work run in favor of a nap and beer. I worried, quite sincerely, that on that day, if a driver or fellow pedestrian did anything to irk me, I might actually resort to violence. Gotta love those days.
Before I made my final decision, I visited www.runnersworld.com to see if Kristin Armstrong had published her weekly blog post yet, since I can generally count on her writing for a mood boost. Lo and behold, she had! And, as usual, she hit the nail on the head: Stuck in a tough patch? Do a hill workout, immediately. Read for yourself: http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/equilibrium.
Thoughts of napping and beer began to recede. As did thoughts of “Okay, I’ll just do two or three miles.” They were replaced by thoughts of “Well, I was going to run to Simms Park Road – why don’t I take a page from the Armstrong Book of Wisdom and run to that road, then up it?” Curving and climbing a little over a mile into Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, Simms Park Road is what I like to call a “big girl” hill. The times I’ve done repeats on it, I’ve done 3, and that suffices.
Filled with a new determination, I threw on my running clothes and got to trotting. No repeats today; I just wanted one challenging climb, where I could unload mental ballast along the way, and let go of the last of it when I reached the top and took in the scenery.
I reached the base of the hill and started up. As I climbed, I found myself dwelling on the things that had been bothering me, and not in any productive way – it just made me grumpy. I remembered that Kristin had written about praying as she ran along, and I gave that a try. I said prayers of thanks. I said prayers for friends and family members. I said a prayer for the lady cyclist who called out “Good job!!” as she pedaled past me that day. And multiple times, I prayed the words intoned by, again, Ms. Armstrong, in earlier posts: Thank you for hills and the strength to climb.
I don’t know how quickly I ran up that hill. I probably would have run faster if I had let the day’s frustration and anger fuel my strides, but you know what? I’m glad I didn’t. I got to the top, took a few breaths, and turned around, ready to let the scenery sink in and work its therapeutic magic.
I didn’t need it. I was already there.
Talk about an “Aha!” moment.
After enjoying the view for a few token beats (it is a great view, and deserves appreciation) I jogged back down the hill and back home.
No nap, no beer. Just a little restored equilibrium.