Instead I had decided to run from sea level up to 670m. It happens often. If I have a day off, come rain or shine, I'm going for a run, and usually up a hill. If I wake up to the sound of rain pounding off my bedroom window. Oh, I know what I'll do. I'll run a lap of Cow Hill. I'll run up a mountain. I'll go smash out a set of the most hellish hill sprints. Yes, those things that you're supposed to loathe and only do because someone said they're good for you. I love them. Especially if it's raining.
Luckily today was not one of those days. It was beautiful. Cold, blue skies and no wind – perfect for a run. And yet with burning thighs and croaky chest I was wondering why. Why am I still running uphill when my legs are on fire and my chest is on fire and I can't breathe right and now I'm really hungry?? The answer that very quickly followed this question to myself was this: because the more I run up, the more I get to run down. Simple. I get to achieve my goal. I get to spend more time experiencing the thrill of flying downhill. I get to stay longer in the incredible mountain environment, running under the North Face of Ben Nevis. I get to feel free and put off going back inside that little bit longer.
The best pleasures in life require the hardest work. I don't really remember any of the doughnuts I've eaten in my life – even if they were delicious at the time – but the memory of crossing the finish line of my first Mamores Half Marathon this year will never leave me. And that's because it was hard. So if that means I have to run up mountains to find that pleasure for the rest of my life then so be it. I think I can deal with that. There's certainly worse things to be addicted to. Like doughnuts.
So that's it. I run because it's hard, and because it hurts, and because sometimes it hurts so much that I want to give up and go home. I run because I know that when I don't give up, when I keep running on, when I reach the top and the pain is finally over it will feel oh so good, and oh so worth it.
As for why I have a penchant for sprinting up the same stretch of hill over and over again in the pouring rain? Beats me. That one might just be stupidity.