By Richard Luo
The greatest enemy of any athlete is the uphill. Whether you’re running, hiking, biking, rowing or doing whatever you’re doing, there’s always that one uphill—or multiple—that makes you wish the Earth was flat. No matter how hard it gets, here’s why you should never give up.
Let’s pretend you’re a professional biker, and you possess what the biking community treasures, something called “tree-trunk thighs.” You’ve already biked 25 miles in the 26.2 mile marathon when all of sudden, you’re face to face with the Godzilla of hills. So far, you’ve fought blood, sweat, and tears in order to land you right in the draft of first place.
As the hill approaches, you start gaining momentum on the flat surface you’ve been comfortably riding on and as you begin to climb, you shift down on your gears. You’re a third of the way and you think to yourself, so far so good. Suddenly, the momentum you initially gained starts to diminish, and every next pedal starts burning. Two-thirds of the way there and your legs feel numb. Now, you access the hidden ace—standing up. You start shifting your gears a few clicks up, leveraging your body weight to magnify the torque on your pedals. You’re neck to neck with first place. All of sudden, the exertion catches up with you and you want to stop. Even when you know it is almost over, you start finding excuses for yourself to get off the bike, remembering that Physical you failed in 8th grade. Then you stop. You literally stop, take your feet off those fancy, overpriced clip pedals, swing your legs off the bike, and walk up the rest of the hill in shame.
Now let’s analyze this. By getting off the bike, what did you lose? Every ounce of effort output in the first 25 miles plus most of the Godzilla hill. Additionally, as a professional biker, your career and reputation have also taken a hit. Your nickname has changed from “The Thigh Guy” to “The ‘Where are my Thighs’ Guy.” Your close buddy, Gary from down the street, also refuses to talk to you. All in all, you’re a loser.
The mistake you made in this race was that you were thinking. However, as Meghan Trainor once said “No Excuses.” Instead, just don’t think at all. As I’ve learned in my personal experiences and from others, it’s better to not focus on the pain and just let your body autopilot. It’s one of the reasons people listen to music while exercising or for the rich people, watch movies through a premium One Life gym membership card. Or if you don’t have access to music or whatever you feel like doing, you can make your own. For example, as shared by a friend, singing Flight of the Bumblebee in my head has helped me climb hills faster. In essence, the best way to motivate yourself and climb that sinister hill, is to not even think about the hill.
So next time, when you’re on a wretched hill, such as Falls Chapel to Tuckerman, whip out your (ad-filled) Spotify (I don’t recommend movies for safety reasons). As a result, by not focusing on the task at hand, you’ll be canceling your application for the Flat Earth Society before you know it.