In cross country, there is a hill we referred to affectionately as THE CHINESE DRAGON (all rights reserved, just kidding.)
Much like the Chinese Dragon traditional in the Chinese New Year parade, this hill is long and ssssslooooooowwww.
It. Is. Rough.
From my house, the closest entrance to the running trail involves running down the Chinese dragon. Which means on the way back, I must run up it.
The jolt of each foot strike makes my quadriceps quiver, absorbing the shock. I can feel the power they hold in reserve. Goosebumps come up from my feet, until even my arm hair is standing on end. Like most runners, I get a lot of power on the uphill from the pelvis. I feel my hip flexors and glutes engage. They’re the engine here forcing leg after leg after leg as if I were pedaling a bike on the easiest gear. No effort, my legs practically fall to their target one after the other. My arms pump involuntarily. But suddenly, I feel nothing. No pain. No emotion. I don’t even hear my breaths anymore reminding me of the strain I’m under. There is simply the pavement in front of me. While at the beginning of the hill, there was that thought in my mind “you can stop if you need to”- stopping is no longer an option here. I am powerful and invincible. If a wall were to suddenly appear in front of me, I would plow right through it. While so many things escape my grasp and I fall short- this, right now; this, for such a short time- this, I can do. I will do. For the remainder of my climb, this hill is my sole mission, my only goal, my purpose on Earth. The simplicity and certainty are what I am chasing after on run after run. If only I could have that clarity, motivation, and follow-through on everything I pursue. While the Chinese Dragon seems longer than the few minutes that it actually takes to conquer, I can’t help but wish that my other journeys only involved 3 minutes and 30 seconds of pure resolve and hard work, followed by only a stretch and a hot shower to recover. I could do so much more if only that were the case.