The kindness of strangers

Yesterday I started my day with a short but intense 4+ mile run in the beautiful town of La Jolla in San Diego. There is a somewhat notorious steep hill in La Jolla that is difficult to run or bike or walk up. I- for some unknown reason- decided I would run this hill. For fun.

Ugh. What have I become.

The day before I got curious and decided to drive to the bottom and find out just how long the incline goes for and just how long. It’s a solid 2 miles of continuous uphill.

I can do that right. Right?!?

Truth be told, I have a race coming up in a couple months in La Jolla that has a very steep and intense incline around mile 8 so I’m trying to trick myself into believing hills are no big deal. So…

The next morning I got up and did it. I stayed right at the top of the intense incline so I ran the two miles down the hill, turned around and ran the two miles right back up. And it was pretty brutal.

The best/worst part was just at the end of the incline, it gets really steep and you know you’re almost done but you’ve got to push harder than at any point beforehand. It was at that point that I was really pushing and struggling to keep running no matter what and push through. It was also at that point that some stranger in a car leaned out the passenger window and applauded and cheered for me.

It was just a brief moment, but it made a world of difference. Just like the people during races who sit outside for hours blindly cheering on every runner (and I pretend it’s all just for me), this person’s simple and easy act of kindness was enough to help keep me running strong through to the top of the hill, to finish the run with a sprint, and to smile through utter exhaustion.

I think I was more proud of the human race and its impulse towards random kindness than I was for having run an intense two mile uphill.

Though, I’ll admit, I was pretty proud of annihilating that hill, too.

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