My street is just off of a crazy hill. To run any distance at all, I have to either drive somewhere or face the hellishness that is my hill. One mile. Up. Way up. Straight up. (And after you get up the hill, there are still lots of hills, but nothing even close to Hell Hill.)
When I moved in, I decided I hated the hill. I had to walk at least four times on the way up.
A few months later, I still hated the hill. I had to walk at least three times on the way up.
Eight months later, I still hate the hill. Until today, I walked at least twice on the way up.
I made a goal that in 2010 I would tackle the hill. I would make it up that darned hill without stopping once.
And guess what happened this morning?
Yup. You guessed it. I KILLED HELL HILL. I killed it.
It's not like running a race. There's no one to celebrate with me at the finish line. No one's handing me a medal.
But I've learned something about myself in the process. The hill stopped me from wanting to run at the beginning of the move. I cursed it. I complained about it.
And then I decided that since the mountain is here, I need to learn to live with it. I ran it in the sleet, the wind and the snow. I tried to push myself further every time I ran it. And eight months later, I am stronger than I was when I moved here.
I know the take-home lesson. I know it's a little trite. But it's also very true: We can't get stronger without challenges. Sometimes the challenges totally suck. But sometimes we manage to grow because of them, and find ourselves at the top of our mountains with our lungs burning and our hearts full of celebration.