Trisha Shepherd">

Uphill Climb

I had a moment earlier this week that made me laugh out loud, then stop and think. Sometimes, those kinds of moments make good stories other people might get something out of. So I snapped a picture, and decided to write about it.

I was leaving one of my favorite hangouts, Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park. The Fall Creek Greenway bike trail was recently extended, connecting my neighborhood with this beautiful nature oasis just a few miles away. I have become OBSESSED with biking there as often as possible. It’s the best way I can think of to: sneak in the only form of exercise I truly enjoy; satisfy my noisy cravings for nature; and spend time with the kids, all at the same time. Win-win-win.

EXCEPT…

A bike ride pulling a 4-year-old in a trailer is a totally different experience than a serene, solo bike ride into the woods. Pulling the trailer sometimes feels like running through mud, especially on hills.

As I pedaled us away from the playground and back to the bike path, I heard a speedy biker approaching behind us. Heading up a narrow portion of the path over a bridge, I upped my game, pedaling furiously to avoid being shamed by the athletic biker.

I couldn’t get up enough speed. The biker (and his muscles, and his spandex) ditched the bike path went out into the street to pass me.

For a second I felt envy welling up in me as I watched him fly by so unencumbered; so light; so fast; so free.

Then, as Daisy started whining about wanting to go home, and dragging her shoe against my bike tire to slow me down even more, I realized something. I’m getting at least TRIPLE the workout that biker guy is, mental and physical.

This is making me stronger.

As Ian and I always tell the kids when they get hurt: “Wow! Good job. You just got tougher.”

By the end of the ride, we hit the final, steep hill into our neighborhood. I’ve done it before pulling the trailer, and I considered pushing through my exhaustion just to prove a point.

But this time, I decided there was nothing I needed to prove. I was being ridiculous. Pulling that extra weight is HARD for us parents, in so many literal and figurative ways.

I gave myself a break. I made that uphill climb on foot to let myself catch my breath.

I am already tough enough.

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