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Dave Griffin On Running: The Silence of the Morning

Dave Griffin On Running
The Silence of the Morning

She hated the hill, but she couldn't take a run without having to climb it. Her house stood at the crest.
This day, as she saw it looming in front of her, she wasn't sure she could make it up. She felt weak, her strength left back at the house where she had been fighting again with her teenage son. They had lived alone now for almost a year, and it hadn't been easy.
The hill was nearly a mile long, mostly gradual. There were a couple places where it leveled off and there was a steep rise near the top. She approached it thinking how hard things had been and wanting to give up, even stopping at the foot of it.
She stood listening to her breath break the silence of the morning. Clouds drifted from her mouth with each exhale and she watched them float off and disappear. She wished she could disappear like that.
The first step was just as sluggish as the last one, and she felt the hill pushing against her. She had no choice but to push back, and a small burst of energy came from somewhere just before she made it to the first plateau.
She relaxed for a few moments before the hill began to climb again, and then felt a surge of emotion rise inside herself. She heard own voice say "Damn this hill."
Her speed was nearly twice what it had been, determination pushing her forward. Her arms pumped with each stride, punching the air. She didn't back off at the next plateau and she felt herself accelerate as she came to the last rise.
Suddenly, she felt good, soothed by the rhythm of the motion. She looked to the side and watched the trees speed by as she passed, then looked ahead to the final, steep climb.
She was almost sprinting when she made the crest, and considered continuing on past the house, before she thought about her son again. She should get back inside.
She stood in her driveway looking back at the hill as her breathing settled down. She thought about the irony. How could she be void of energy at the bottom of the hill, and filled with it at the top? She didn't know. All she could think was "Maybe I don't hate that hill as much as I thought I did."
As she turned toward the house she saw the face of her son in the window. She stopped, smiling as it dawned on her - he has his own hills to climb.
As she stepped into the house and towards her son, she remembered why she started running almost a year ago. She needed the brief escape and the peaceful air. Now, she knew she was getting that and more.
She hugged her son, and they spoke together like they hadn't spoken in a long time. They talked about hills.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at

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