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Vignette 42/52. Hills.

I still hate running hills.

We have a hill near our house. And of course, my husband felt it was perfect for hill running.

There is minimal talking when we run hills. It’s not fun. The sun is hot. Looking up at the hill, you know how your legs and butt will burn. You savour every breath as you slowly walk down the hill, already prepping mentally for the next hill.

I remember the first time AJ and I ran up the hill back in March. We were huffing and puffing. We had to take our time to bring our heart rate down before attempting another one. I dreaded each hill session for that first month. It sucked.

It took some adjustment for AJ to live with us again at that time. And a lot of patience. She not only had to grow accustomed to living with her parents again but also living in the jungle. There are bugs. AJ does not like bugs. More specifically, AJ’s legs do not like bugs.

One night, after a few weeks with us, she burst into my room and had a mini-meltdown. It was night time and a big bug flew into her hair. I tried to hold back but I just couldn’t . I asked her, “What lesson do you think the universe is trying to teach you?” She screamed in frustration and I howled in laughter.

After awhile, I watched her settle into a routine. The foundation of her routine was the same foundation that her siblings and Chris and I established during the lockdown. I remember how Chris and I purposely avoided consuming too much outside information. I remember how we decided to focus on the one thing that we knew would enhance our quality of life no matter what.

We focused on moving our bodies. Chris and I adhered to a training practice six times a week. The rest of the kids worked out and moved together at regularly scheduled times.

Twice a week, Chris, AJ, and I ran hills together. (Eventually, Joey and Frankie would join us.).

We started with only five sets in March with ample rest in between. We kept it up for the next seven months together. By late summer, we were at 9-10 sets with less rest but still comfortable in breathing.

Incrementally, showing up to the hill each week and adding a set slowly, we made progress. Our bodies became stronger. Our endurance increased. Our mental discipline was sharper. There were days when we didn’t feel like it but as soon as we put on our running shoes, we knew we had to go and get it done.

Running hills teaches patience and perseverance. Instead of staying at the top, you deliberately go back down to do it all over again. We all start to not only accept the challenges but learn to embrace them eventually – the hills, the change in lifestyle, living with parents.

In the end, they help us become more resilient so that we can face anything the universe and flying cockroaches decide to teach us.

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