**I'm thinking that with this at the finish line, I could run as long as I needed to. Photo c/o my talented friend, Tabitha.**
I kissed the kiddos goodnight and slipped quickly into my room to tie my running shoes on. The final rays of a beautiful spring evening were falling, and I wanted to enjoy them. I told Rockstar where I was headed, then stepped outside to let my feet hit the pavement.
In contrast to the humidity of earlier this week, the lightness of the air felt positively intoxicating. I took off in a different direction than normal, and quickly found my stride.
My legs pumped as I headed up a long hill, and I noticed how strong they felt as they glided me up towards the top. The music on my shuffle blended with the gorgeous greenery around me, and created the perfect stage for my thoughts.
I let my mind peruse issues I've been weighing, and noticed that I didn't have to struggle too much against the effort of my muscles to keep my mind focused.
I turned the corner after one hill, and realized that I had more in me. I wasn't done running yet,
so I looked for a way to extend the run and keep moving, keep moving.
When I finally headed up the final hill of my run, I noticed that my lungs were not collapsing under the weight of that hill as they usually do.
And suddenly it occurred to me. A simple truth I'll probably be stunned by again and again:
I'm stronger than I was a month ago.
Spurred on by a race my friend organized in April, I'd decided to try out the knee I'd injured last year. I wanted to feel strong again. With my knee cooperating, I'd set a modest goal for how often I'd set out to exercise. And I've kept that goal.
Now, a little over a month later, I am stronger. My body can handle those hills differently, can exert itself longer, can enjoy things that seemed laborious a few short weeks ago.
There's still so far to go, but I let myself relish the small victory.
And I reminded myself of the broad application of this principle in my life.
It's so often that way: we methodically push through pain and discomfort to find stronger minds, stronger hearts, stronger relationships.
Then in those moments where we glimpse that we have become more capable, we are spurred on to raise the bar again. To persist in difficulty. To be further astonished by our ability to grow, change, and conquer life's inclines.