The 365 Commitment

The Great Big Hill of Hope – 126 Days Left

I am receiving some assistance in my quest to run a complete a marathon, once I have finished my 365 running commitment. I believe I have discovered the core principle behind this coach’s training philosophy. Make my life so miserable heading up to the marathon, that when I get to finally run 26.2 miles on flat even pavement in calm and serene San Diego – it will feel like a casual stroll. So this weekend, I was limited on time. On Saturday, I decided to fit in the Sprint Trials the coach was trying to convince me to do. I only had to dedicate a small amount of time to the effort, how hard could it be? Let me put it this way, I died out on that race track and now you have my vengeful spirit deal with.

I am a little late in getting to my blog post today, because Sunday I had to take the kids to a Robotics competition. That was a full day, so I only got 2 miles or so in. As a consequence, I selected the hardest run out of the coach’s recommendations this morning. It required me to get up super early and run up a “hill” on a uneven trail type surface. I had to maintain my run for a minimum of 2 hours. I thought I was cool runner boy, but found out that I am nothing when it comes to sustaining a run up hill, dodging rocks, in the pitch black with the feeling that a mountain lion was ready to pounce at any minute. I finished, got through it, but nowhere near as fast as I thought I would. I planned my path to arrive back at my car at exactly 2 hours. It took me an extra 45 minutes to get out of where I was running and thus my late start today!

I weave this story into my narrative to walk you through some thoughts I was having while in complete misery. I started calling the hill that I was climbing, the Great Big Hill of Hope. Try not to laugh, when you are running and trying to convince yourself not to stop, you will come up with anything to keep yourself going! Anyway, the GBHH was daunting and it was a struggle, and I was trying very hard to arrive at the top and that kept me motivated. That is right up until the moment that I decided to look around as the early dawn started to light the sky. The word beautiful is not enough, peaceful, beautiful and majestic is probably close. My perspective changed, I was no longer trying to get to the top – I was enjoying the path along the way. My run became much easier – proving a hypothesis that I have had for a while – most of my inhibitions when it comes to running are mental and not physical.

A few life lessons that dawned on me as I ran through trees, over streams, across plains, up and through rocky paths and scrambling through brush. The first major one is that everyone’s life ambition is comparable to a mountain that you are trying to climb. It should be daunting, intimidating and difficult. You should not be able to see the top. You have to have hope that there is a top and that you will get to it. You must cultivate that hope, build upon it until you have enough faith to start climbing. That hope will sustain you when all is lost, or when you feel you cannot go any further. The hope will propel you to action that keeps you on the path and going upward, regardless of how slowly.

The second life lesson is that this had better be a hill with a path that you enjoy. Serious, hiking a mountain that you do not like is not only torture it is probably not a great quality of life. You have to find redemption for your choice along the way. You should be able to look around and enjoy what you see. It will not be all flat, with beauty everywhere. Most likely it will be misery with a little happiness thrown in. The point is that you have to enjoy the journey! Your ambition should have a path to the top that you can find joy in along the way. I have always believed that success is not something you find at the pinnacle of your aspiration, it is something you accidentally bump into along the way.

The third life lesson, extending the GBHH analogy even further, is the concept that they only way that mountain is going to get climbed is if you get on the path and start moving forward. You can think about it, plan it, contemplate it, consider it, fret over it but at the end of the day if you have a hope to become something better in life then you need to pick something you can work on and just get on the F$^@ing path. Put one foot in front of another and just start climbing. It will eventually get better, I promise. Just get on the path.

Guy Reams
365 Alumni
126 Days Left to 1st Marathon

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