When my dad forced me to run cross-country my freshman year of high school I really resented it. I wanted to do marching band. I didn’t understand all this running and Indian sprints and LSD (long slow distance) and fartleks and hills and everything else. All I knew was that as I was running endlessly and seemingly without purpose around the high school. And during those runs all I could hear was the marching band practicing and I always wished I could have been with them.
So when I decided to start running hills in anticipation of the Hedianga Beast run (not the full beast, just the Beauty & the Beast- the 5km) I was surprised to find that all that running around in high school had left some sort of imprint on me. I developed a course right outside my apartment where I could run up and down 3 different hills of increasing inclines and lenghts. The workout was simple: hill 1, hill2, hill3, hill2, hill1, run up, jog down, walk to the next one. Easy peasy.
Little did I know that deep down inside I had the cold black heart of a high school cross-country coach. I enlisted my running buddy to join me for the first test. I mean, how hard can it be, the hills aren’t that long. We’d been running a bit, and I desperately didn’t want hills to be a problem on 22 Feb.
So we took off running up the first hill and about half a kilometer in I felt my chest seize and my breathing become more labored than it had been on my first run in December. I thought I was going to have my first dyspnea on exertion attack in a really, really long time. Either that, or I was having my first heart attack. We wheezed ourselves up to the top and turned around and staggered down. Then we crawled to the next hill. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But we got through the circuit, and on the last hill (the same as the first hill) it didn’t seem as steep, or as long, or as bad. And when we were done we wandered over to my apartment for some really strong coffee and a review of the profile.
Or just check it out here. The point being that it was hard, but we survived and we’re now making it part of our weekly schedule. Because Beauty & the Beast.