Three days a week, I head to the park with a group of moms for an hour-long workout followed by playground time for Karen. The group is Stroller Strides, and it's a way to stay fit and sane for stay-at-home-moms.
The park that my group goes to is quite hilly. We start at the playground, then head downhill, sometimes stopping to run some stairs, sometimes jogging all the way to the bottom before beginning our first strength station. The downhill is easy. The second half of the workout is killer. Not only are we tired from our strength stations (we usually have four stops along the way), but now we're running uphill between each set of exercises.
The fabulous thing about Stroller Strides? All the moms are supporting each other, pushing each other to get up the hill. Some are slower, needing to walk instead of jog, some are faster, but when we get to the top, we pause to catch our breath and laugh at the hard work we're doing to get or stay in shape.
It's counterintuitive, but for me, running the uphill section is easiest if I run faster. Maybe it's because I get up the hill sooner, so there's less time spent running, or maybe it's my competitive streak, but the more momentum I have, the better. If I slow down, even a little, I'm likely to end up leaning over at the waist, struggling to take the next step against the weight of my daughter in her stroller. But if I push it, if I really challenge myself, I feel like I could go on forever. Or at least to the finish line.
As I was running up the hill this morning, I got to thinking about the similarities between my workouts and my writing. Both efforts require consistent practice. Both activities get easier the more you do them, and are more fun if you have a support network urging you forward. And the harder you push, the more momentum you have, the better you feel.