Hills Make You Stronger.
This is what you are told from the minute you decide to challenge any distance greater than 5Km until the day you hang up your shoes (NEVER!). Its one of many mantras of the distance runner.
Jess and I have aggreed that hill training is a necessary evil in line with vaccinations, dentists, childbirth and trying on new bathing suits. It can be moderately torturous, cause anxiety and definately cannot be put into any catagory with the word "fun".But, as much as I would love to outlaw hill training as a workout I have to admit it.......it works. There, I said it. It works.
BEFORE THE HILL: The pre-hill experience
We leave from the Running Room on a slightly warm - and by slightly I mean fricken' hot!- evening to begin the warm up for our hill training session. As we cruise through the 3Km it takes to get to the hill - and I do reccommend the 3Km as a warm up distance both to loosen up your legs and give yourself enough time to talk yourself into thinking Skyward hill isn't really that bad - we chit-chat about this and that with our fellow runners that we've managed to shame into coming with us. As we make the final decent down Arnold street to the base of the hill, we all share a knowing joke about the fact that the hill is just a little bit farther and agree that maybe we could just skip hill training.......it is hot you know! But alas, we arrive at the base of Skyward Hill and know that bailing is not an option. After all, it is only three repeats right?
SIDEBAR : For those of you unfamiliar with Skyward Hill, here's a little visual for you......... It's a double elevation type of climb....... kind of like someone removed a hill from San Fransico and plunked it down in the middle of the south end of Sudbury and said "here you go, run this"
ON THE HILL: The Reckoning
The first hill of any number of repeats starts with a deep breath. When you reach the incline and as you climb up it, that deep breath becomes more like sucking wind. You force your legs pick up the pace even though they are resisting. Your arms begin to pump furiously in attempt to get the legs that are now burning and begging you stop, to go faster. Your heart is hammering so hard that you can hear it beating in your ears and think it may pop out your chest. If you go fast enough, you may even feel like you could vomit. (I don't reccommend it) But just when you think you can't take one more step, it's over. You hit the crest and you get to recover, on your way back down the same hill.
Needless to say, there is much cursing and debating on why we do this, but we can't stop. We can't give up. In fact if you try to leave, the hill taunts you "come on punky, what's the matter? can't take it?" You are the hills' bitch. It's better to accept it, get your ass back up to the top and say thank you when you are done.
Hill training is what seperates those who run comfortably from those who will attack a run with strength and pride in knowing that they may have gotten their ass handed to them on Skyward hill once or twice but they are never going to get beat on some tiny little burm on a race course! ~
See you on the hills!