Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moving Through a Plateau

Today was a "hill" training run.  It is imperative when one trains for The Boston Marathon, she take some time running up (and down) hills. So today, me and a couple of my friends, hit the Battlefield trails, a perfect place packed with plenty of heart pounding, leg burning hills (and Vanessa made us repeat all of them).

Boston has a lovely set of four "Newton hills," which begin at mile 16 and continue through mile 20-21 with the final hill, and steepest known as, "Heartbreak Hill." 

It is at this hill, you find many runners close to "hitting the wall" (depletion of glycogen stores in the muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and the desire to curl up in a ball and cry), therefore forcing them to slow down dramatically or even walk their way up to the top of this difficult plateau.

To help those heading up, crowds of spectators line the streets cheering on the runners, loved ones have written words of encouragement on the steep incline, others hold signs, even fellow runners will pat one on the back who may be suffering while whispering a quiet, "You got this!"

Ironically, the first four miles of the Boston Marathon are completely downhill.  While the heart may think things are easy, the legs have been working over time.  And when those steep hills come, they are either ready to climb or ready to quit.

Isn't that funny?  

While many fresh untrained runners make the mistake and blast it during the downhill portion of the race in record time, these same people end up being forced to walk or even stop when the real challenge comes. 

Putting this uphill/downhill battle into real life situations, I wonder how any of us move ourselves along in life and make it to the next plateau.  We trot along, all comfy and cozy...many times unwilling to put in any extra effort to make our way to a higher plateau.  We seem pretty darn satisfied with our current views.  But we know deep down the amazing view we can have if we climb a little bit higher, then higher, and before we know it, our view is simply incredible. 

But yet, some of us aren't moving.

Do we want to simply run a faster race?

If so, we have to be willing to run faster (pump it up a hill, sprint around a track)!

Do we want to be more patient?

If so, we have to count to "10 (or 20, or 50)" more often before we blow our top.

Do we want to lose weight?

If so, we have to eat less, exercise more...

Do we want to learn something new?

If so, we need to take that class, ask that friend and practice.

Or do you want to stay comfortable on your plateau, remaining behind, while others make their climb?

Are we willing to start working so we can get off our current plateau and make the climb to the top of our steep hill?!

I know what it feels like to remain behind...stagnant (isn't stagnant water gross) on the same humpity bump.

And I know what it feels like to push myself and to know I have the ability to conquer each plateau.

Some may take longer than others. We will encounter obstacles, trials that may stop us in our tracks for a period of time.  We may even need a helping hand, someone to cheer, to encourage, possibly even carry us.

But we musn't ever give up...

or take for granted the view we see now, thinking that is enough for us.

Finishing the race is our goal...climbing each hill, even when it hurts and not stopping until we reach the top.

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