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Coaches Blog

This is not a hill

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

by Mark Sortino

It's Coach Tip Tuesday!!

On the heels of my all-time favorite race, and as I transition into a much different season than I've ever had before, I offer this:

The Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run was the second race I ever ran, and it was the first long-distance race I signed up for. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. Seriously, not a clue. I had a $400 watch with a heart rate monitor that Michael Patsos had told me was a good idea to buy from Fleet Feet Sports Syracuse and I had run a couple of the training runs. I met Karen Allen-Turner six days before the race, so there was nothing she could do to adequately prepare me in time. I went out there with the goal of finishing, and finish I did. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but that day in 2010 taught me so much.

I learned to embrace hills. Not just hills on a race course, but the hills that life presents us. Rhiannon Berry and I ran the Mountain Goat together on Sunday, and I shared this with her as we ran. Our goals sometimes feel like mountains, and depending on the life circumstances that accompany them, they may actually feel completely insurmountable. This is a feeling that so many of my friends have felt over the last nine days.

What the Mountain Goat taught me is that it's possible to push your boundaries further than you ever thought possible. And it's the reason I return to it every year. Sometimes you're traveling uphill, and things are hard. But then, you get to see the view from the top, and it's amazing. And next, you get to descend. You get to fly. Things get easier. You realize that the struggle and the work that you put in to get to the top was worth it.

So, my friends. Don't fear the hard days. Don't fear the hard workouts. Know that the work you do now will pay off, even if it's not in ways you expect it to. You'll become mentally and physically stronger. Even the challenges in our lives have their place. And it's important to accept that.

This is not a hill. It's an opportunity. So, my friends, embrace it.

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