Pennsylvania, when not forgotten, is known for a couple things. Mostly Amish people and our farming. We also have plenty of trees and mountains. Only a small journey from Scranton lies a slightly hidden summer camp site, complete with plenty of cabins, a mess hall, and a lake. Each year I travel a grueling two hours to this area to attend a running camp. For the past couple decades, tradition has declared that every single morning we wake up as the sun rises to run up a hill dubbed “Fluffy”.

Now, Fluffy should not be disregarded due to her name. She’s actually a mountain along the flawless skyline view from the lake. Running up the leafy trail is a lot more breath-taking than the sight of her. It’s a three-quarter mile run up a treacherous, bumpy hill to get to her base. Then the real fun begins. A quarter mile sprint up a basically vertical surface, complete with loose dirt and slippery stones. For those who don’t enjoy running, or even hiking for that matter, I can assure you we only do it for the pancakes at breakfast. Those more skilled at scaling mountains may scoff at her, but I have a personal experience with Fluffy involving an Urgent Care. She and I don’t get along very well.

But this one week each summer helps with more than just running. The relief of conquering your anxieties and fears not just once, but multiple times peaking Fluffy each morning is a magical sensation that stays with you for possibly even the rest of your life. When a challenge comes upon my path, I subconsciously whisper to myself, “It’s not Fluffy,” and power through it with energy I never knew I had.

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