Like I mentioned in the About page on this site, I’m a novice runner. Emphasis on the novice.

And, like many people who have lost a significant amount of weight, I’m not exactly used to, or even aware of, what I can do now. I’m incredulous every time I can get my body up The Hill.

I guess I forgot to mention I live at the base of a hill. And not just any hill. The Hill. (No, not Capitol Hill. I just call this hill on my street The Hill because it is one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever faced.)

Eight years ago when I began working out in the hopes of losing a lot of weight, I ran for the first time on a treadmill. In intervals. And it exhausted the ever-loving life out of me. Thankfully, it exhausted plenty of my fat cells enough that they left and never came back. I couldn’t imagine then that I would ever be running outside, with all of Tennessee’s twists and turns, ups and downs that don’t look like they’re inclines until you’re right upon them.

And yet, on my Peace Corps medical leave, that’s exactly what I started doing. I was in such limbo with my career, didn’t know if I was going back to Ukraine, and wasn’t exactly in the mental space to make any more decisions. After all, I was facing the largest decision of my life, counting down the days until I was expected to fill out forms to prove I either was or wasn’t cuck-oo. All of this was a perfect recipe to forego a gym membership. If I was about to just ship out overseas again, what was the point?

But, I felt this restlessness inside. I walked Teddy one spring day, and realized not only that I could run, but that I wanted to.

It’s been over two years since that day, and I run outside at least a few times per week. When I’m frustrated, need a break from burning my eyes on the screen of the laptop I’m typing on right now, or just want to get outside, my first instinct is to lace up my Nikes. Then conquer The Hill.

The best part about The Hill is that it descends into a sleepy side street where I can catch my breath. The second-best part is that as I try to talk myself out of another block, I see the trees in bloom like the one in the photo above, and I feel inspired enough to keep placing one foot in front of the other.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a catalyst this pretty and pink any day.