Over the hill

I live on the south shore of Lake Erie.  I’ve been in this town for 15 years, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never really explored it.  I’ve lived here, but I’ve never really LIVED here before.

I started running in March.  I use the term “running” loosely, as there is not a category for the pace I run at on My Fitness Pal or SparkPeople.  When I told my doctor I had started running, I started to discredit it, saying, “I guess it’s more like slow jogging…”  He stopped me and said, “Betty, if you’re not walking, you’re RUNNING.”  I like his definition, and it’s the one I use when someone asks me if I’m “really” running.

I started on my treadmill.  I could only run 1/10th mile before I had to walk, but I fought for those first miles.  I soon progressed to the high school track, the parking lot at an Amusement Park, and a wooded trail at a MetroPark.  All were very level.

Several weeks ago, I noticed a trail winding through a city park on the lake.  I resolved to check it out.  Last night was perfect.  It was in the low 70s, with a beautiful breeze coming in off the lake.  I ran the loop closest to the parking lot, and then stopped – there was a hill – and I needed to go down it.

I have injured myself in two falls in the last 20 years.  The last fall resulted in 4 breaks, a plate and a whole bunch of screws in my left ankle.  That hardware has been my excuse for not doing anything about my weight for almost a decade.  At any rate, I am deathly afraid of falling down.  The last time I fell down (I slipped on a wet spot on the deck), I wasn’t even hurt, but I screamed and cried like a baby because I was sure I was injured.  Falling is bad.

I took little teeny tiny steps down the hill and got to the next level stretch, congratulating myself for not dying.  Soon, though, I was faced with the fact that where there is a “down” hill, there is sure to be an “up” hill that follows.  I trudged up the hill (okay, it was just a bank, but it was a BIG bank) and continued on my way.

The trail continued to wind through the park, over a bridge and sure enough – another hill.  This one led to a path along the road.  I froze.  Roads mean cars, and where there are cars, there are people who might shout mean things at me out the window.  (yes, it has happened to me).  I considered turning around and going back the way I came, but curiosity got the best of me.  I wanted to see where the trail ran.

I took a deep breath, and “ran” the hill the best I could.  I was over the hill!  I got to the top and ran the handful of yards along the road to the next “down” hill.  There were cars.  Their drivers did not honk the horns or shout at me.  It was okay.

I proceeded along the path around trees, along the lake, and looked up.  A dozen buzzards were trailing me.  They sensed weakness.  They circled.  I ran some more.  I looked up.  Still there.  The buzzards knew I was a goner.  Obviously, they sensed my history with falls, and they were waiting.


I shook my fists at the feathered hecklers.  If the cars on the highway couldn’t stop me, neither could a bunch of feathered carrion-eaters.  I laughed.  I charged down the next hill.  I felt the blister form on my right big toe.  I laughed some more.

I managed to make it around the trail 3 times.  By the last lap, the hills were no longer something to be feared.  The buzzards didn’t get me.  I was sweaty, happy, and as I reached the end of the path, I was treated to the most glorious view of the sun descending toward the horizon…and the buzzards were still circling.

Like me, the sun was proudly going over the hill.  Life is good.

sunsetlakeside run

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