Hills, hills, everywhere there are hills!! If I go left out my driveway, the first mile is 80% uphill. If I go right, it’s a bit easier the first mile, but then the hills start.
The last few years, I let the hills intimidate me. It’s one reason–a large reason–why I never got past a couple of miles. I would walk up the first hill and run from the top going out the left. My excuse was that it was exactly half a mile from the driveway at the top to the tar of the next road. And the hill I dubbed the Mountain (Blinn would be the Mountain, .98 mile of up, up, up, a little flat to tease you and up some more), I never conquered that. Until last year.
Last year I embraced the hills. I pushed harder going up the hill and relaxed on the way down. I know that if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I can make it up the hill. Even if a turtle could beat me. Which, on the spectacular hill called Blinn, three steep slopes going up, a turtle could.
When I run, I think of Newton’s law of inertia:
An object at rest will stay at rest, forever, as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it.
An object in motion will stay in motion, traveling in a straight line, forever, until something pushes or pulls on it.
Ok, maybe not in those exact words. But I do think it is easier to keep going then it is to stop and then start again. Even on hills. Sometimes especially on hills.
I do have a few tips for hills, mostly learned from hard experience.
one: Don’t look up! You know how they say don’t look down? Well, looking up can be just as disheartening, and occasionally just as scary.
two: Breathe. Sounds simple, right? It’s the first thing that goes, so make sure you concentrate on keeping it going in and out.
three: I run in the country, which equals soft shoulders. I run downhill on the shoulder to keep the impact on my knees less. I don’t run uphill on the shoulder. It’s like running in soft sand. Why make your life harder going up a hill?
four: form! we tend to slump forward uphill, which can lead to cramps and loss of breath. Pick up those feet, swing those arms, lean forward but keep the back straight; if you can do it going up a hill, you can do it anywhere.
Plus, if you are thinking about all of this, you will be at the top of the hill before you know it.
This year I am going a step further than just embracing my hills, I plan to run up a mountain. Which means you all will be hearing plenty about my sad muscles and hill challenges!
Sunday River O2X Summit Challenge:
The Single Diamond course will begin at Base Camp in front of the South Ridge Lodge and traverse across to the base of White Cap before beginning to climb. The mountain’s most rugged terrain, ravines, and several open rock faces will make this a fun and challenging course. With a net elevation gain of 1,314 across 6 miles, the views of the Mahoosuc Mountains and the Sunday River Valley from the summit of Locke Mountain will be breathtaking.
The Double Diamond course will also begin at BaseCamp at South Ridge before heading towards White Cap. This trail takes runners across the resort’s mountain range, just below each of Sunday River’s top peaks. The finish, at a net elevation gain of 2,135 feet (after running 3.3 miles), overlooks incredible views of the Mahoosuc Mountains and New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. After reaching each course’s respective finish line, athletes will make their way to North Peak and take the Chondola back down to Base Camp where a free cold beer or beverage will be waiting.
I am rather leaning towards the Double Diamond, but we see how I feel when the time comes. This is last years description, 2015 has not been listed yet. Should be in August or September, so I better start running those hills!