Trust that still, small voice that says, “This might work and I’ll try it.”
The hill was long and the steep part was yet to come. I knew this in my bones. I’ve run this course at least 100 times. In all kinds of weather. In brilliant sunshine and total darkness. I know what’s coming and because I know what’s coming, I think I know what’s possible.
And that’s when God laughs.
As someone who chronically undersells her own ability, I am fairly certain I’ve only waded ankle deep in the pool of possibility. I someone believed the idea that opportunity only comes with much fanfare — with trumpets and shouts of angels and cake.
But it’s not necessarily the big opportunities we take that shape our journey. It’s the small ones, the seemingly inconsequential ones that can shift everything.
This morning’s 4-mile run featured hills including the locally infamous “mother” and I declared to my fellow runners that I’d be lagging behind. My lower back was sore and I was woefully low on sleep. Today was just about getting in some miles and working the hills to make me stronger. I’d just cruise through at an easy pace, thank-you-very-much, and call it a day.
“Cruise through” is a relative term when it comes to running up mother and as I churned my legs over the steepest parts it felt as if I were in slow motion. Perhaps the theme to “Chariots of Fire” was playing somewhere and I was really killing it up this hill instead of moving at crawl while desperately trying to breathe. The hill running gremlin made his usual appearance to tell me I suck. I pushed him back into the moonlit woods. I didn’t have time for his negativity today. I was out here. I was running. I was right were I was supposed to be.
When I reached the top I realized … that I was feeling pretty good. After giving myself about 30 seconds of easy running to recover, I was ready to enjoy the free speed of the descent. Then came the final few small, rolling hills. And instead of cruising through the last mile, I picked it up. Every hill I attacked, recovered for 30 seconds, then picked my pace back up. Repeat as necessary. In the final quarter mile I ran a hard race pace. Granted, I thought I might throw up before hitting the final gate. But I didn’t puke. And I didn’t fade.
Perhaps it helped that I had no expectations for this run. Check that, I had low expectations for this run. Miles and hill work. That’s all I was hoping to get out of it. But I took the opportunity presented at the top of the hill. I heard a still, small voice that said, “this might work so try it.” Without analyzing or justifying or arguing, I said OK. And with that found a reservoir of strength I didn’t even know existed.