Last week I took our oldest son to college in Boulder, Colorado. Now, I’m used to the Green Mountains in Vermont, not the brown and rocky, well, Rockies, in Boulder. Friends told me about the wonderful Boulder Creek path that runs up into the foothills. I figured, if I can run in Vermont, I can run into the foothills of Colorado.
I got up early one morning and headed west on the trail. No solitary running in Boulder; there were people running, walking, walking their dog, and biking. I couldn’t really tell that the trail was going uphill except for my labored breathing. That, and the comments from people coming down from the foothills that “it’s a lot easier on the way down!”. They were right!
I could never see the end of the hill, or the “top” as I was running because the path kept twisting and turning. There was no summit to hit, no visual landmark to tell me that I had made it to the top. I just kept going, trusting that I would either get to the top or my time would run out.
It turns out that my time ran out before I made the top, if there is even such a thing on this trail. I gave myself 40 minutes, and pushed it an extra 5 minutes before I turned around to head back to the car. Steadily chugging along uphill, not knowing what lies around the next corner, is enlightening and almost freeing. I think there are many parallels to this in life: we can’t always see the “end”, but we keep going toward our goal.
I finished the run feeling absolutely wonderful with both the physical exercise and the mental freedom to keep looking up toward the tops of the rocky mountains. I’ll try to recapture those feelings throughout the next weeks as I go through my work days as well as my runs back home in Vermont.