Bad Angel Rule #169

Ain’t No Shame in Walking Up a Monster Hill.

Hill running is hard. Duh. I know.

We’ve all encountered crazy-steep behemoths that cause us to curse to ourselves (or aloud) as we fruitlessly pump our arms and legs to ascend at a snail’s pace.

When we conquer the hill, it’s quite satisfying. But sometimes, all that effort isn’t really worth it if it costs us down the road, especially during a race.

A couple weeks ago, I encountered one such beast at mile 10 of the Madison Half Marathon. Rather than exert all my energy to run up, I instead decided to walk up. I walked with purpose, pumping my arms and focusing on my breathing. Only one runner passed me, it cost me only 20 seconds, and I was able to conserve much-needed energy for the final 2.5 miles of the race.

Perhaps most importantly, I wasn’t embarrassed or disappointed in myself because I knew I hadn’t given up. On the contrary, I had made a calculated decision to help me finish strong.

Some hills, you need to conquer, and some hills, you only need to survive. With time and experience, you’ll figure out the difference and learn to approach them accordingly. — Mags


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