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The View from the Top

Having missed Saturday Running Commentary, I thought I would run today (Sunday). I further decided to quit pussy-footing around and go up my main challenge hill: the road to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC). There are not a whole lot of hills in Herkimer, NY, but this one is a really good one. It is steep, it is long, and one is rewarded with a beautiful view from the top. Additionally, it is very impressive to people when you tell them you run up the hill to HCCC. I have not run that hill in a while. It was time.

Of course I woke up NOT wanting to run. I didn’t even try to argue with myself; I just put on my stuff and went, a technique I have often found effective.

Right away it was not fun. My legs felt awful. I was sure this was because I went three days in a row without running. These things happen. I studiously ignored complaints and kept running. It was a nice cool temperature. In fact, my hands were a little cold. After a while my ears felt cold too, but I had remembered to wear a headband so was able to cover them up.

Was it really such a good idea to run that hill, I wondered. Then I thought, why not? I had nothing much to do for the rest of the day so it wouldn’t matter if I racked myself up. I really can’t keep running that little hill by Valley Health and build up for the DARE 5K in August. Finally I thought, just run up the hill for 15 minutes, then turn around and run back down. However far you get, that’s how far you go.

This, of course, was a psychological trick. I knew that by the time I was 15 minutes up the hill, I was going to keep going to the top. I ran by the spring. I thought about how I usually reward myself with a drink of spring water. My hands were too cold to want to do that. No matter. There was water waiting for me at home.

It seemed to take a long time to get to the actual hill. Why was I running so slowly anyways? But it was all I could do to continue. I saw a mother deer and her fawn in somebody’s front lawn. Then I saw another deer laying down, looking dignified. Then I thought I heard a shotgun. Good God, were there hunters in a residential area? But I suppose sound carries. Or maybe it wasn’t a gun after all. I kept running.

Oh it was not fun. What a lot of work to go uphill. I thought about how if I kept doing this I would get better at it. At the DARE 5K, I would breeze by young kids who felt they had to walk. I remembered with some bitterness one runner who I passed at least four times the last time I ran the DARE 5K. She walked, I passed her, she ran, she passed me. I want to build up to where if I pass someone, they stay passed.

I made it to the top of the hill. You knew I was going to, I hope. The view from the top was not so good, due to haziness. No matter. If I keep running the hill, I am sure to see a beautifully clear view sometimes. I just turned around and ran back down. I stopped at the spring for a drink. My hands did not feel so cold by then. Aah, good water.

I ran longer than I have yet, adding more than the recommended 10 percent to my last longest time. Perhaps that is not ideal, but I had to get all the way home and I was not yet ready to begin my cool-down walk. I save that to walk with Tabby.

I felt so pleased with my accomplishment that I posted a Facebook status about it. A gratifying number of my friends have Liked it. I like it too. I’m looking forward to the next time I run that hill.

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