Holy Hilly Terrain, Batman
What was I thinking? I was a moron today. I had to run. Not very well I might add. You see, Saturday’s are my long run days. Here lately, they’ve been my only run days. I missed last Saturday because everyone at the house was sick, including myself. So, after having been off 2 weeks, I decide to run 13.1 miles. That’s right, I’m a moron. You see, I was planning on running the trails that I had been running with my friend Jon, but add a little to it. I was going to run the 7.5 miles on the trail and then run another 4 miles home. Well, Jon’s family was sick all week, so he wasn’t able to run Saturday. Good thing, too. If he got out and ran, he probably would have made himself sick and been out a couple of weeks. So, I was going to run by myself. No biggie. Did it all the time when training for Chicago.
Side note: There’s a hill in Searcy (actually, right outside Searcy) on Fairview Road that is massive. When I first moved here from the Delta farm lands of Louisiana, this was the biggest hill that I had ever seen. (Not saying a lot when, at 13, in LA, most of the hills I saw were ant hills.) I made a vow about a year and a half ago to be able to one day run up that hill as part of a workout.
Fast forward to today. I decided that since I’m going by myself, I’d like to 1) run at least a Half Marathon since I’m going to have to do that in Little Rock in a few weeks, 2) run some hills since Little Rock is hilly, and 3) run Fairview Road and tackle the hill. Little did I know that the combination of these 3 almost sent me crashing down after my run.
First off, the day was perfect for running. I could not have asked for a better day. Maybe a little less wind, but the temperature was great. Beautiful sunny day was a welcome to all of the horrible weather we have had lately. Also, the scenery was amazing. The run started off really good; not too fast, not too slow. Went across Holmes into Lake Ridge Estates (first real hill) and did well. Once I got to Fairview (about mile 2.5) I felt pretty warmed up. That’s when the rolling hills started and went from little to the biggest one at mile 5. Each hill was tougher and tougher. My run amounted to little more than a walk with my feet shuffling fast. I’ve learned that it’s all mental when running. Someone could be walking just as fast beside me on uphills but I’m not going to stop “running” because it would be a defeat and would be hard to start going again.
At the base of the big hill (we’ll call it Legion, because it was just as evil), I was psyching myself up. Chanting affirmations. Putting on my game face. Truth be told, I probably looked ridiculous, but I dug in. The first half of Legion was the steepest part. Once I made it halfway, I just put my head down and concentrated on one step in front of the other. I kept telling myself, “I am not going to let this hill beat me! I will not be this hill’s b*tch! Legion is going to be my b*tch!!!!” Once I finally got to the top, I turned around and flipped off the hill. I had just conquered my Everest. From here on out would be easy…so I thought.
I make it to my turn around point which is at about 5.77 miles. As soon as I turn around, I realize that I was getting a pretty good tail wind, which has now been turned into a head wind. I also notice that for the last mile, I’d had a nice, gradual downhill run. It has now turned into a nice, gradual uphill run. I still think, “This is nothing compared to Legion.” So, I keep running.
At about mile 8, I go down a different road. Up to here, it had been a simple out and back. And a bit hillier than I had anticipated. Now I start running in relatively new territory. It was nice and scenic, but still more hills. At about mile 10, I’m wishing I had more water.
I finally start seeing familiar houses around 11.5 and finish out my 13.1. When I finished and started walking, my legs were shaking. This is the first time that my legs have ever almost given out on me. Even after Chicago, my legs were still okay to go another couple of miles (which they did because we couldn’t get a cab back to the hotel…another story). But this was weird. I’m standing in the middle of the road, staggering back and forth, thinking, “What the heck is going on?”
Anyway, I made it…barely. Next weekend is going to be hard to carve out running time because we are having a baby shower for my sister-in-law. I’d prefer to run then, as would most guys, but I don’t think my wife will let me out of the house.