I have a love-hate relationship with hills.
I had a little work trip that recently brought me to Phoenix. I feel so lucky that one of the outcomes of my years as a professional racer was that I had an opportunity to make friends all over the country.
I quickly reached out to my friends with RaceLab, and they invited me on their group's 10-mile trail run. I was warned it was a "strenuous 10-mile course" and I should "plan to walk a lot". Ppppfft. Whatever. Terrain doesn't scare me, this bitch 'aint walking. Bring it.
Hmpft. One thing I have learned - there is nothing the running gods love more than to punish a soul who isn't humble. I met up with the group, and off we started. The first 20 minutes were slightly challenging, but I kept thinking, "Oh man, I'm so kicking this mountain's ass. This isn't so bad. I can totally do this!" Mmmm hhhhm. I rounded a dirt carved corner and gasped. … I was staring up a vertical climb I would be on for over 40 minutes. I huffed and puffed like one of the three little pigs, feeling weaker and weaker with each 20 meter section of terrain I furthered.
Despite walking, I really did feel like I was hoofin' it. I was moving. I had been out there for a while. Up until that point I had avoided looking at my Garmin but I was starting to get a little anxious to be DONE and needed a countdown. I glanced at the total time and noticed 1 hour and 14 minutes had lapsed. Wow. Nothing like challenging terrain to make the time FLY. I thought to myself that I was SURE to be close to the finish. I took a guess that I was probably close to 8 miles completed, but definitely more than 7 miles. I truly believed this.
I looked down at the distance. 4.73 miles. HOLY SHIT. Are you kidding? I was going to be out there all day! I was beyond humbled.
My friends assured me that the trip down would be much faster and easier. But they didn't take into account the wimpy way I pick my way down a mountain. I am slow and deliberate, annoyingly cautious and in some ways I prefer the suffering of the climb, just because my footing is firm. I am certain there is a metaphor about my personality in here somewhere, but I'm not sure I want to see what it is.
I finished the 10 mile trail run in 2:09. Actually it was 9.5 miles, so I am even suckier. :)