It was my first longish run post-baby — a 7-mile run up Payson Canyon. This was a very fitting setting for me on this particular morning because it represented what I have been dealing with the past several of months: an uphill battle.
Pregnancy, for me, has normally been a rather easy endeavor. I don’t get morning or evening sicknesses that are common among expectant mothers, and I can usually resume my fit lifestyle up until the day I give birth. Deliveries — while long and laborious with every single baby entering the birth canal in a posterior position — have gone off without any sort of hiccup. Because of this, I have sailed through the recovery process really quite easily.
Well, not this time.
Early on in my pregnancy, I didn’t feel great and I wasn’t able to run much past the six-month gestational period. My body was bigger than I had ever been in order to make room for a baby that was quite a bit larger than any of my babies before him. This not only caused me physical discomfort, but I was self-conscious about the way I looked.
My post-baby recovery has also been slow and kind of frustrating. Running or any exercise for that matter has not been fun, and has actually been a chore. My body feels heavier, and I am definitely moving along in an uphill battle toward normalcy.
However, as I set out on my run up the canyon, I realized that uphill battles are not all that bad. In fact, there can be some benefits that come from taking life’s challenges with you on a steady or even steep incline.
The first thing I noticed right away was the gentle landing that I felt as I ran up that mountain road. Rather than hitting my body hard on the downhill with a quicker than normal turnover, my feet slowly and softly landed at a controlled, methodical pace with no rush to get somewhere my body wasn’t prepared for.
Going uphill also allowed me to breathe at my own pace and take time to appreciate those breaths. The slower pace gave me the chance to take in my surroundings and notice things like spring flowers, birds and even the tiniest of breezes that blew past me.
And while the uphill made for a much slower pace, it required a lot more effort on my part to put one foot in front of the other. If I stopped, it was much more difficult to get my momentum up, making constant forward motion necessary for me to keep going.
Going uphill, there is no worry about keeping pace. Instead, there is focus on the desired outcome of eventually reaching the top. And when I reach the top, I get to see how far I've come, and it only fuels the desire to keep going up.
I may be experiencing an uphill battle that is daunting at times, but I'd rather land softly at a pace I am able to control than flail my arms wildly hoping not to fall. I want to notice the little things along the way as I move toward my goal, and I want to do so while putting in a champion's effort.
Give me an uphill battle any day. In fact, I prefer it.