Marathon Miles: Restoring Perspective
By Alexis Mercer
Here is a list of the things that have broken or stopped working completely in my house within the last few weeks:
Enclave (our family vehicle)
Then my credit card number was stolen and used fraudulently.
It’s been an interesting few weeks in the technology department of our house. I figured on Friday I had two choices: cry or go for a difficult run to work out my stress.
I’m not much for crying. So run it was.
By 9:00 am it was already 80 degrees and humid. Really humid. I only had a short bit before I was to meet Ken and other N3 contributors for our weekly coffee and conversation at Riverstop Cafe, so I decided I would start downtown Newaygo.
I headed North toward Wisners, and turn in to hit the riverside trail for my warmup mile. Nice and easy.
And then I made the turn for Whiskeywood Hill. (I’m sorry for those who are offended by this name. I’m not originally from Newaygo - but it’s the only way I know this hill. Does it even have a street name? If so, I know I’ve never heard it called that before.)
Those of you not from Newaygo - this hill is approximately half a mile long with winding turns so sharp you can’t see the top until after the 2nd curve. The first 200 meters is the steepest.
It was at the very base when a fellow runner passed me coming from the opposite direction. She smiled, waved, and said “It’s better going in this direction.”
But I needed this mental and physical challenge. I knew it would clear my head.
Off I charged. To get up a big hill like this, you have to drive your knees and pump your arms and hang on for dear life. My lungs were fiercely burning 100 meters in. And I was loving it. I smiled and kept on.
I got to the first curve knowing I had conquered the steepest section - and that now I could push the pace to maintain the burn in my lungs and legs.
The occasional car would pass (there is no room on the side of this hill so it’s quite dangerous running here) but all the drivers were kind and slowed down and moved over. They were probably questioning my sanity, too.
I continued on, turning the 2nd curve and could now see my destination: the street light that marked where I would turn around. I smiled some more. I tried to increase the pace one last time to finish the ascent feeling strong.
I had done it. Now a quick descent, feeling like a million dollars (albeit a very sweaty, drenched million) and a push to end back downtown for my meeting just in time.
This run was exactly what I needed. Life throws us hills. Sometimes they are small - and sometimes they are the size of Whiskeywood. I needed a physical hill to remind me of some things.
As I walked into Riverstop Cafe, my frustration had lifted, and I was ready to enjoy a morning conversation with friends. My perspective had been restored. And my gratitude for the gift of running was at an all time high.