As I survey the elevation charts of the spring races ahead of me, I must submit myself to a necessary form of running torture: hill repeats. This is where I go find a slope that looks like there should be a ski lift on it and repeatedly convince myself to sprint upwards at a painfully rapid pace. It turns out that these repeated climbs and descents are excellent for making you into a stronger runner; it also turns out that these repeats are excellent for turning you into a raving lunatic.
As I do nine or so of these repeats, my head explodes with many psychotic thoughts that for personal therapeutic reasons I will share with you now.
1: The easy peesy “Did you see my commercial?” hill
This is the happy hill. It’s the hill where I picture myself in a commercial where I effortlessly ascend to the top with controlled, rhythmic breathing, impeccable form, and my face ends up on a cereal box. I finish this climb ahead of my target time with a bit of bravado as my reward.
2: The “I think I’m a beast, I really am” hill
This second hill also starts off happy but it takes just a bit of effort to stay happy. I tell myself that I am a beast and it works. New chest hairs appear on my torso and my breathing is still rhythmic but at an increasingly louder volume.
3: The “Really? I chose to sign up for this? Really?” hill
This third hill ain’t so happy. This third hill is reality setting in. My mind says, “Sprint!” and my legs say, “Stop!” The hills are giving me a reality check and I’m starting to checkout. What have I done? Why did I start this workout? Why did I sign up for a race with hills? Why couldn’t I have taken up knitting instead?
4: The “I’m on smoldering fire” hill
As I head up that fourth hill, a new feeling comes about me. It’s a feeling that rises up from my feet to my legs through my torso and explodes into my head – it’s a burning sensation and I am on fire. I envision smoldering smoke trailing behind me as I force pump my arms to keep pushing myself up that damn hill.
5: The hill of indecipherable “#$@%!” words
As I struggle up that hill for the fifth repeat, I am starting to wear down and lose my focus and lose my mind. As I bound up the hill yet again, my mind starts swearing at me – I don’t even know what that means as I write this – and new, unimaginable guttural sounds come from under my breath.
6: The “My face is stretching through the space-time continuum” hill
This sixth hill is one of extreme facial contortions. My teeth are clenched and somehow my entire face is finding a way to sneer in opposite directions. It’s as if my face is made of stretched rubber as I rage through this repeat and I worry about whether or not I’ll need a facelift in the near future.
7. The “Oh my eyes are jumping off my face” hill
Thank goodness I wear glasses – they provide a safety net for my eyeballs as I feel them wanting to leap off of my face as I push through this seventh hill. I never knew that my eyeballs could bug out so much, but then again I never knew that I’d be so nuts as to keep on doing this many hill repeats.
8: The “I will not suck” hill
This is a hill of pure determination. This is the hill between sucking and succeeding and I will not choose to suck. Instead, I choose to suck it up and be like a good buttercup to get this hill done.
9: The “All my guts and then I’m done” hill
This is the hill with a finish line. This is the hill that gives me the most benefit to my conditioning. This is the hill that I run with all my guts hoping that my guts are still with me when I’m done. This is the hill of triumph and of a workout well done.
Sucking it up all the way to the top,
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