Me and hills have never been the best of friends. There’s no deep reason for my dislike of them; they’ve never spat in my coffee or called me names, and to the best of my knowledge it wasn’t hills who shot my straight-laced cop partner just three days before his retirement, forcing me to go on a rampage of bloody revenge and car chases. No, it’s just that they’re bloody hard.
Last week, I was thinking about next years tr24, which is waaaaay off in the future and definitely won’t sneak around in the blink of an eye and catch me unawares. It’s a very hilly course and, as I mentioned in a recent post, I’ll be seeing a lot of it so I thought I’d better start preparing.
I found a nice long hill in the next village along, and set to work. Over the next 50 minutes I learned the following:
- Hills are hard work. Controlling my breathing is something that I’ve never really struggled with, and I tend to gently breathe through my nose even on some of the harder runs. But I was puffing and panting for the entire duration of the hill session, gulping air into my lungs and making such a loud “HeeEEEeeeEEEeeeHoOOooOOoooo” noise that I could easily have been mistaken for an asthmatic car alarm.
- Speaking of cars, parking mine halfway up the hill was a REALLY bad idea. Ten reps of the hill = Ten internal struggles where it took every ounce of willpower not to jump in and drive the rest of the way.
- Sometimes you will run past someone walking their dog in the opposite direction just as you approach the apex of the hill, which means that a few moments later you’ll effectively turn and run after them. When this happens, breathlessly rasping “It’s okay, I’m not chasing you, honest” will actually leave them more convinced that you’re a slightly-out-of-shape serial killer.
- By the time you’ve finished the downhill recovery you will have completely forgotten how nasty the uphill was, and will happily commit yourself to “one more rep”. This happiness lasts approximately 2.4 seconds.
- On a quiet night you can actually hear your quads screaming.
- Did I mention that hills are hard work?
Remember, hills are just flats that think they’re better than you. Go get ’em!
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