Tomorrow's Hill

So tomorrow is Hospital Hill. My goal is to make it up the big hill (that's a half mile solid on a sturdy grade -- click Show Elevation here for a peek). That's it. For me this race is about strength and about not giving up.

Yeah, I'm wearing a stopwatch and yeah, I want to know my time. But the challenge and my goal is to make it up the hill. To have built the strength I need with my work over the past few months, and to have it in me not to quit until the last ounce of strength is gone.

Why is the hill so scary? (I drove it again today when I went to pick up my packet.) I mean, nothing falls apart if I deplete that last ounce and need to walk. Nothing is at stake here. Not my pride, not my desire to keep running.

So why is it scary? Hm. Maybe it's that I'm not used to being the person who puts herself out there physically in public. Maybe it's that I don't know what to expect from my own body. Maybe it's scary to believe I can actually do this, because I don't know what that means next.

Maybe it's because I know what horrible things the voices in my head can say to me if I think I've failed or been ridiculous and how those voices can make me hurt myself and I'm petrified of hearing them ever again. Or maybe it's just because Hospital Hill's bigger than any hill I've run.

Whatever it is, I drove up Hospital Hill today and said, good gravy, what have I gotten myself INTO.

Well, anyway, I came home and it wore off. I'm back to being excited. I'm excited visualizing getting to the top of the hill. I'm excited about how much fun this run is going to be. And it is fun to inhabit your body doing something you can hardly believe it's doing, with 4,999 other people having the same experience.

Eleven hours from now I will either have made it up the hill or I won't have. And either way, the only thing that will change for me is that I'll then know my training goal for the next year.

And either way: I'll have had yet one more run at mastering the challenge of those voices. I have climbed that special hill before; I can climb it faster and stronger tomorrow. Because no matter how we measure what we've done: every run at our mountains makes us stronger.

Happy goodnight, all.

(Cross-posted from A Sunny Hello.)