In my head this was going to be about running hills. I do still want to write about that, hence the blog title that allows me to write a sequel. Instead though, this will be more about what happened on my last 2 hill runs rather than the running itself.
Something changes in us during the shorter, colder days of winter. We bundle up in layers, walk a little faster and stare at either the icy ground below or at our final destination, thinking either will get us there just that little bit faster. As a result we don’t always notice others going by. I see this all the time on my winter runs. As someone approaches me I can tell they are avoiding looking up or acknowledging my presence. I always try to say a quick “Hi”, but sometimes feel foolish, or even a bit intrusive.
Spring is in the air now though (despite the forecast for six hours of freezing rain tomorrow). The sun is just that little be warmer, the days a little longer, and I think people are ready to stare not down or off into the distance, but all around them. Last week as I made my way down the hill I like to train on, a man walking his dog on the opposite side called out to ask how many times I would be running up. I laughed and said that hopefully I would make it up and down five times. He smiled and continued on his way. Having put my goal into words I suddenly felt obligated to run the hill five times. If I did it only four times I would somehow feel as if I had let this man down, or worse, told him a complete lie. I was short on time but I knew no matter what, I would complete what I had said. Somehow this stranger, who took the time to ask about my run, became my motivator without even knowing it.
Today while coming down the same hill for the fourth time I had to pass a young man (young compared to me). As I approached he turned around, moved to give me a bit of space and we exchanged hellos. He too asked about my run. Once I had passed he shouted out, “You have a great day!” He too motivated me without knowing it, and I completed 8 trips up and down the hill.
So, lesson for the day… Smile at someone, ask how they are doing, wish them a great day. Perhaps you too will motivate someone to get up whatever hill they need to climb.