I Effin’ Love Breakfast (BAL)

Today’s post comes from a lady that loves her breakfast and loves her hill – one specific hill. As her job takes her away more than we’d like, she reminisces on all things related to her one true love. This is Mercedes Valero. This is her ode to Breakfast Hill.

If you’re not from Baltimore, I want you to meet Breakfast Hill: the approximate half-mile gradual hill along the north side of Patterson Park. This hill has no official name, so I’ve decided to name it Breakfast Hill for three reasons: 1) Because it is at the bottom of this hill that our November Project tribe meets every Friday morning for #HillsForBreakfast  2) Because a block from the top of this hill, Reuben at Grace’s Acre deliciously caffeinates us with his iced coffee (and also feeds us pastries and beefsticks) 3) Because I REALLY love all things breakfast (coffee, quiche, scones, hash-browns – so can someone please tell me about pancake salad? I HAVE TO KNOW)

Today was my last morning running Breakfast Hill with #NP_BAL. Why? Because “real life”. You see, I got this nifty “real job” that starts before 7am (ok – start time = not so nifty). I start Monday. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m also sad.

When I first got this job offer back in May, my heart sank when they told me my start time, because I thought it was the end of my time with November Project. But over the course of the summer, through happy hours and outdoor concerts and one crazy ultra-run, I came to realize our tribe is more than the hills and the stairs and the last burpee we struggle to finish. Our tribe is useverything we do and wherever we are. I know I’m not really leaving my tribe. So thank you, tribe, for making me feel like I’ve tattooed “crazy community member” on my heart.

But this hill!!! Breakfast Hill. This hill I have to leave. Breakfast Hill won’t be the same if I run it alone, or on the weekend, or in the evenings….So as I say goodbye to you, Breakfast Hill, I want to share a list about why I fell in love.

1.     You were my first hill love: When my running “career” started my senior year of high school, I hated hills. Pretty sure I tried to skip practice those days. Now I crave the victory of reaching the top of any hill I run…especially when greeted by a cheer tunnel at the end.

2.     You introduced me to the true meaning of #Weatherproof: In this picture I am wearing two pairs of leggings, two pairs of winter socks, two jackets, a fuzzy hat, the first buff I’ve ever owned and other layers too deep for me to remember. It was like -14°F or something. School was cancelled, but Breakfast Hill was full of crazies like me running as best they could on the icy path.

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3.     You gave me a better butt: Running hills clearly builds better glutes. But Breakfast Hill, you let people show those off at 7am and I love you for that. You also make our butts hella sweaty. So props to you.

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4.     You allowed me to push myself: Running hills is never easy. It’s never easy to get up way earlier than normal. But while trying to squeeze in one more hill before 7:20ish, I grow stronger mentally and physically. I credit beating my goal time for my first half-marathon to you.

5.     You were a way to meet new friends: It’s not always easy to talk to someone while doing hoistees, but while running up the hill it’s easy to strike up conversation with someone. I met a lot of newbies this way, and made better friendships with people I had met just two weeks before. (It’s probably a good place to pick up dates too, but it’s hard for me to flirt and sweat simultaneously)

6.     You became my reference point for positivity: when the world starts getting gloomy and doomy for me, I picture myself at Breakfast Hill – and I remind myself that I am capable and weird and strong and determined and awesome, surrounded by people who feel the same way about everyone who showed up to workout and conquer a hill.

7.     You’re a constant: In the craziness that my life has been in the past 9-ish months (moving to Baltimore, finishing grad school, ending a long-term relationship, finding a new job…) you were there, unchanging. I could count on you to be an obstacle I could always overcome, a place to live loud with my friends, a place to grow my love for myself and my city. Thank you for keeping me grounded and simultaneously helping me soar.

But honestly, I could say a lot, but Breakfast Hill, you changed my life. I mean, seriously, asked Nick if I could write a blog about a hill, like a piece of land with a somewhat wonky sidewalk. That is how much I love you. I hope others love you too.

So goodbye, Breakfast Hill. I hope to see you again soon. And tribe, see you 5:30 on Wednesdays. See if you can burpee me out of work sometime to run Breakfast Hill again 😉

#WeekendDoubleEarned for reading my long blog post

Love like a love song,
Mercedes Valero (the other Mercedes is still in Spain)

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