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A Little Like an Asthmatic Donkey

In order to get to the shade tree at North and Main, from which the name of this little blog is derived, I have to run a mile uphill. Well, I could drive it, but then I wouldn’t need the shade. The first 1/3 mile has three fairly steep, albeit short hills; though generally it’s uphill. From there it’s a steady climb. And while I’m at it, I may as well mention that what I’m doing isn’t what most people would recognize as “running” so much…but, anyway…

Until recently, that one mile was the number one top reason that I couldn’t get motivated to don the running shoes and head out the door. I’ve done a few half marathons, but the truth is–I’m not much of an athlete. I’m a fake-it-till-you-make-it runner. For ten years I lived, and “trained” (and that’s playing fast and loose with the meaning of that word), in an area of Texas that is completely flat. Prior to that, I lived in places where I could get to a flat spot to run and what fool would go find a hill when they’re really a fake athlete anyway? Furthermore, I actually never trained for anything until two years ago. I ran to support my food habit, and truthfully, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to run enough miles for me to break even, y’all.

Then. Arkansas. Holy crap.

We moved here a year ago. There’s simply no way to get around the dad gum hills. My house is midway up a hill to begin with, so I either start a workout running uphill or end it that way. The easiest approach I could come up with is to tackle that mile hill, ending up at the edge of downtown Benton, which is kinda sorta flat. So then I can run a lap or two around downtown which rolls some and has a couple of steep spots on either end, but that’s about as flat as it gets in Benton. The whole thing has been a little ridiculous.

Simultaneously, I wasn’t meeting any fitness goals. AT. ALL. Not that I need to prove that I’m a fake athlete, but it is evidenced in the following fact. I “trained” for two half marathons in the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012, and I GAINED weight. Now that’s just wrong. The funny thing is, every time I complained about this to a friend, we would invariably have this conversation:

Her: Well, you gain muscle…

Me: Really? In my butt? Does butt muscle split the seam in all your pants?

I appreciate the sentiment, but c’mon, now. I thought making the move and thus running more challenging terrain would make a difference. But, alas.  Even running Arkansas hasn’t done much to reduce the size of my bum.

So, it has all been pretty discouraging until today. We’ve had a little break from the heat.  It rained through my whole workout today. I made it to the top of that hill, right through the intersection at North and Main, and kept going and going. Up and down more hills that have plagued me since I moved here. I only stopped, if necessary, for traffic (and not because I was sucking wind so hard that I sound like an asthmatic donkey) and actually felt like I wanted to keep going when the workout ended.

Thank God. It’s finally getting easier. And it only took a year.

A year ago this week, we moved to Arkansas. So many challenges and obstacles went before that decision. It bordered on hellish there for awhile. I asked God on multiple occasions, “When do we get to rest?” But one thing I’ve noticed since we finally took the leap (decided to come here without jobs to start a church, etc….it’s all in another post), it is getting easier FINALLY. It’s not getting easier because the hills have shrunk because they certainly have not. Maybe chugging up and down the mountains before had better prepared us for what lay ahead. Maybe we don’t need rest as often because we’re conditioned to tackling the hills in faith.

Team in Training Savannah

Before I sign off, I’m still fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On October 27th, I’m running the Rock n Roll St. Louis Marathon. Probably the most powerful thing that I’ve heard since I started training is that a cancer patient can’t hit the snooze button and sleep through a day of treatment. I encounter that temptation every time I put on my gear to walk out the door. Some days, I just don’t want to face the hills–and that’s not to mention the heat! My dad couldn’t just say, “No bone marrow aspiration today. I’m just not up for it.” And so I train, even when I just don’t think I can.

But here’s some AMAZING NEWS!!! I found out this week that I now have a company sponsor that will match dollar for dollar every donation up to my $5000 goal. That means that when I make it to my goal, it will actually double to $10,000! If you’d like to help, just click here. Small donations are HUGE!

“I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”   Psalm 121:1-2

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