formats

Graduation Day

 

Your body is capable of extraordinary feats, but only if you give it the chance.

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My dad and I ran together off and on throughout high school.  It wasn’t anything competitive; it was more of an introduction to the world of running. He taught me about how to breathe correctly, proper running form and even how to use my arms/upper body to get up a hill efficiently. But his lessons were more than just learning proper running mechanics, his gleaming passion for the sport hinted at the notion that running has the power to helping you unlock your strongest self.

 

{One of our early runs together during high school}

Dad and I ran side by side as we approached the challenging hill ahead. While his pace remained steady, I struggled to maintain my speed. Even though I had significantly improved from our first run together, hills continued to leave me physically tormented and mentally defeated.

Dad could have easily bounced up the hill and left me in the dust, but it wasn’t in his nature. He adjusted his cadence to match mine and we trudged onwards and upwards together. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated. Why does it come so naturally to him? When will it be natural for me? Will hills ever feel easy? Will I ever be any good at hills…. or running in general? Ugh.

I huffed and puffed my way to the top, caught my breath and jokingly blurted out, “Dad, if the whole world were a hill I would be running down it and you would be running up it.” Plain and simple, I was done with running hills. All the huffing and puffing made me like a failure. Dad quickly retorted, “A world full of down-hills? Ha! My knees would crumble in a day!” I laughed, called him an old man for having achy knees and we continued on our way.

NYC PAMPHLET

Guess what came in the mail last week!?

 

Coming full circle
Earlier this week I set out on an eight mile tempo run. I ran through Weymouth Landing and took a left onto Liberty Street, a seemingly endless hill that continues for about ¾ mile. My pace was steady, my breath was even, and my thoughts remained calm and focused as I steadily made my way up the hill. I have ran that hill plenty of times and now know that despite the pain of the ascent I will always make it to the top.

This is my graduation day. The day I realized that I am not afraid of hills. The day I realized that if the whole world were in fact a hill, I would now be running up it alongside my dad.  The day in which a threatening hill smiled at me and I realized all I could do was smile back.

It took me a decade (and hundreds of miles in-between) to realize that hills are not supposed to be easy. They are supposed to challenge you over and over again because within that demanding atmosphere lies the magic of the hills. Accomplishing a feat that you once thought impossible has the power to transform you. As your body grows stronger, so too does your mind. You can’t help but feel unstoppable.

I didn’t think I could ever run the Blue Hills, but I have. I didn’t think I could ever run over 9 miles, but I have. I didn’t think I could ever improve my speed, but I have. I never imagined that I would run a marathon in my lifetime, but here I am seven days away from running my first marathon.

What do you think I face at the starting line? The Verrazano Bridge. One nasty mother f**ker of a hill, and you bet I’ll be smiling.

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