Runners have a love/hate relationship with hills. We love how we feel when we get to the top - such a fantastic accomplishment that driving around in the cool comfort of your car hides from you. We love how strong we know our legs are getting, pounding up a steep grade. But, we HATE them - we hate how much harder they make us work, how we huff, how we struggle, how our stride goes from gazelle to gopher.
Runners respect hills so much that we even name them. Hills in major races get named by the runners who strive up them towards the finish line, like Heartbreak Hill on the Boston Marathon. But we name even the hills that are around our homes, the hills we are so familiar with we know each pothole, the dog at each home along the way. A friend of mine has named the hills she runs on in Central Park "Hell Hill." I've run that one with her, and the name is well deserved.
My hill is called by me the "Big Ass Hill."
Big Ass Hill is a long, slow half mile of a pretty steep grade through a beautiful McMansion subdevelopment near my cul-de-sac. It begins 1.6 miles from my front door and goes up, and up, and up, and then levels of so that it's almost flat (but not) and then goes up til the road ends.
This summer, in the high heat and humidity, I avoided Big Ass since it was tough enough to breathe in the thick, sweat air on the flat roads along the corn and dairy farms.
But now, it's time to run her again. I signed up for the Amish Half Marathon, a scenic 13 mile run up and down and up and down the large rolling hills through Lancaster...hills are in my future.
Last week I attempted to run up Big Ass Hill - and she beat me. I couldn't do it. My legs and lungs gave out half way up...
...but this morning, I conquered her. I ran up Big Ass Hill and then, just to show her that *I* am the boss, I did hill repeats on the steepest 0.1 of Big Ass. In your face!