Like many of my runs lately, I had to drag myself out the door last night. I knew my planned hill repeats weren’t going to treat me well.
Even with all of my dread, I caught myself by surprise when I found a burst in the first three repeats.
I warmed up eight miles of easy rolling hills, and then I circled back to the steepest hill I’ve found within a few miles of my apartment. Why not go after the toughest, meanest hill around?
This particular incline reminds me of Shreveport’s thrill hill, where I spent many mornings going up and down. Painful up, just as painful down.
I haven’t come up with a name for my Encinitas hill quite yet, but it’s a beast. Driving down third street in a car, right before cresting the top to go down, it seems the road is falling off the face of the earth. It’s a hill with only one speed either direction — leg-shredding.
I started my workout with great apprehension. I entered the hill repeat portion of my run feeling much better, and for those first three repeats, I felt great. But then I hit a wall. And I had some help. A group of four college-age guys, who had been walking down the hill, decided they wanted to race. When I accepted the challenge and charged up the hill a fourth time, I didn’t hold anything back. I wanted to win, and I didn’t want it to be close. I did, and it wasn’t, but I wasted far too much energy.
My fifth repeat hurt. No. 6 hurt even more. The seventh made me contemplate ditching the rest altogether. I wanted to stop halfway up the hill. But it towered over me, taunting me, telling me I didn’t have what it would take to finish.
So I summoned everything I had left and slogged through three more torturous hills.
Why was I so determined to finish the arbitrary number of 10 I had set before the run? I could have easily called the workout good enough after even five hill repeats. But something inside me wouldn’t let me quick. Even when my body was screaming at me.
I’ve missed that feeling. Maybe it’s the natural drop off after I earned my way into Boston. Maybe I’ve needed another monster goal to chase. Whatever the reason for my recent malaise, I’m ready to break through.
Bring on the hills. They hurt so good.