The uphill slog

I’m calling it “string trimmer near gravel”. Only the fringes remain but it was fascinating and maybe even beautiful if you could somehow block the dollar signs from exploding all over your brain while you look at it. Also, the voice that says, “of course it was the largest window in the house”.

I noticed a couple years ago, maybe when I was training for my first half-marathon, that my brain most often checked in on how I was feeling while going uphill, generally around the midway point when I was feeling the extra effort and not yet close enough to the top to feel hopeful. Once I noticed, it was almost laughable how reliably this would happen. I would be lost in a story or a song or the clouds and then think, “Man, I’m feeling rough today.”

I’ve since trained myself to quickly check in with the terrain when I hear that thought and more often than not, respond with a stern “We do not evaluate how we’re feeling while running uphill.” If it’s real it won’t just go away but most days my mind has wandered off by the time I actually do reach flat ground. If I don’t actively negate the thought, though, I’ll get to the end of a run and believe that I was feeling rough for the whole thing, because the 3 times I noticed were the 3 uphills.

I think this week is a bit of the same. I got home from my meditation retreat on Monday really filled up but also at the start of a full week of work and spring projects and trip planning and life. A week and half at home between my retreat and our upcoming trip to visit family and friends on the east coast feels cruelly insufficient. I’ve just been feeling beat.

The other day I found myself reconsidering the whole enterprise of vegetable gardening, and then it clicked. Oh, I’m tired. And tired is tough on me. It’s not always like this. When I’m halfway up the hill the best thing is to maintain effort not pace, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to promise myself that I will reconsider the overall plan after I’ve crested the top and recovered a little bit, when I have the benefit of my full oxygen capacity. And a little perspective.

So for today, just a quick hello from the uphill slog.