The Rolling Hills of Life

Has anyone ever been outside and encountered rolling hills?


Since I got into running I've always heard the term rolling hills, but today I truly understood what that term meant. By my definition, rolling hills are a series of hills that pop up one after another. They're not big hills, but the repetitiveness can cause agony.


As I was rolling through the hills on my run today, I realized that rollers are a lot like life. The route I ran today was new. I had driven this route hundreds of times, but I had never run it and the hills didn't seem too cumbersome in a car. On feet though...COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY.


So why are rolling hills like life?


There was a series of six significant rollers in a row today that I dealt with on my run. Each hill varied in ascent and descent, but the combination of the six made for a pretty good workout. The first hill I climbed was a short steep burst where my legs felt some fatigue. I was so happy when I reached the top to relieve my lungs and legs. When I got to the top it was completely flat and I felt comfortable, but before I knew it I was descending and then climbing again. This time I hit a small roller and I knew I could get up it with ease because of how I ascended the prior hill.


After I got to the top of the second hill I began thinking about life. I had reached the flow state of my run which usually takes me a couple miles, but this is when my mind begins to detach from my body and nothing really bothers me. The best part about the flow state is that I have my daily blog thoughts during this time.


The first roller represented a difficulty dealt by life. It was hard, but temporary. I got to the top and and I felt a sense of achievement and relief, but this was short-term because life was throwing me another hill before I even had time to truly enjoy the flat pavement. I thought about the previous hill and realized that the next difficulty that I would face would be easy. I had pushed through a harder hill than this and that experience made me defeat this next roller with a blink of an eye.


The next three rollers were similar, but towards the end of my run I hit the biggest hill of the day. I could've taken an alternate flatter route, but I made the decision to climb the big hill. Once I got to the top I felt proud that I took the path of greatest resistance. Now I was cruising downhill to the finish and the thoughts of life popped into my head again.


I didn't think there was going to be a steep hill to finish off my run. I thought I had already encountered the toughest hill of the day, but I was wrong. A lot of times we think there's no possible way that life can hit us any harder, but then the unexpected roller hits and you have to find a way to overcome that next obstacle.


What are your thoughts on the rolling hills of life? I'd love to hear! Send me an email or connect with me on social media.

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Tanner Kern is a 22 year content creator and endurance athlete from Connecticut. He is the host of The Tanner Kern Podcast and creator of "It's a Process: My Tips for Becoming the Best Version of Yourself."

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