049 What going uphill can teach us

Uphill / Photo Source: on running

I love to run. And (usually) runners like to go for “hill runs” to train their legs to get better at running. Going downhill is fun and a generally easy track to be on. Whereas, even though going uphill can be fun if you’re up for a challenge, it isn’t the easiest thing to do. But I love to go uphill even though it drains quite a bit of energy more than the normal horizontal tracks. I enjoy going uphill and always have a smile on my face even while struggling to run up because it’s really fun for me! And here’s an important lesson that I’ve learned from going uphill.

A situation where if you don’t enjoy the process, the outcome will serve no good

Imagine: You’re going for a “hill run” on a relatively high elevated mountain (for a hill run). And you decide to invite your friend to the run too, who isn’t that much of a consistent runner and is not that good of a one- though he does have a good sum of an ego. So, you both start the run from the bottom of the mountain at 6:00 AM, too early for your friend as you make out from his appearance. And because you are roughly aware of the place, you know that you both need to run a total of 8 kilometers (or 5 miles) on a great vertical elevation height to get to the top and enjoy, which is said to be probably “the most beautiful view in and of the entire city”. You start your run at a good pace, feeling great and excited to view the sight from up there. Looking up, you see that there’s a big way to go but that’s okay because you’re feeling great on today’s morning run. Two kilometers into the run, your friend is starting to feel a little tired and drifting away from your high pace. You’re doing great though, drawing in a few breaths of clear air through your nose and into your body, but you’re a little concerned about your friend. Three kilometers in, your friend is panting quite perceptibly for you. Disturbed, you suggest that you both should walk up to the end if your friend isn’t coping well. Your friend refuses, saying that he could run and he would run up to the peak. The words coming out uneasily from your almost breathless friend. You shrugged your shoulders and kept running, not letting your friend bother your good mood that day. Managing it till kilometer six, your friend’s state was really getting bad, but he wouldn’t stop because his self-esteem wouldn’t let him. You felt a little sorrow for him, and decided to slow yourself down to a slow speed which allowed your friend to catch his breath. Even after understanding what you had done, he didn’t say a word. So, you kept pacing at that slower speed and just increased it in the last 200 meters of what was for you an amazing run. You reached the peak and took in the beautiful place with all your perceptions. The beautiful sight of the entire city, the different smells of the earth from up there, the distant sounds of traffic, the taste of cold water and the feeling of being present in the moment. But, unfortunately, it was the exact opposite with your friend. He didn’t get to enjoy the scene a single bit. He was completely exhausted, and irritated with himself too. He found no interest in the beautiful view which was the only reason why he had accepted your invitation. He had a worn-out, sad frown, just as he did during the major part of the run, whereas you had a big, happy smile, just as you had throughout the hill run.

This is something that cannot be stressed enough about. If you don’t enjoy the process (the run up to the peak of the hill), you will never enjoy the reward (the view from up there which you longed to see), no matter how hard you worked for it. You’ll always feel that it wasn’t worth the hard work done. And that may be true because you didn’t love the work!

I hope this “going uphill” story helped to understand in greater clarity, the significance of the work and how it matters more than the end outcome, which will never be “fun” if you didn’t find the run up hill to be fun.

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