The Hills Series: I need a bigger hill

23 Apr

After biking the course for my upcoming half marathon, I have to admit I am feeling a bit intimidated by the challenge of 13.1 miles of hills upon hills. For the past two days I have been struggling with self-doubt about my ability to meet this challenge.

I have been doing hill repeats once a week since registering for this race last month, but these hills are puny in comparison to the inclines monsters I will be running up on May 11. This led me to a very real conclusion: I need to find a bigger hill.

On the way home from our bike ride Sunday, Mark and I scouted a hill just outside town that looked like a good candidate for my last couple of hill repeat sessions before the race goes off. It seemed pretty similar to some of the hill-age on the course (long and fairly steep), so I plotted my attack: give my legs a full day of rest and then hit the hill on Tuesday.

Bright and early this morning, I made my way over to the chosen hill. After about a mile warmup and quick stretch, I headed up.

About halfway up the first time is when I started hating life and my legs turned into lead. “How am I ever going to make it through this half marathon?”

On the way back down, I tried to visualize getting over the biggest hill on the course and the many words of encouragement Mark had said to me. “OK, I can do this.”

Then back to some other negative mumbo-jumbo mixed with some choice expletives.

Repeat this exact process 3 more times.

When I came down the hill for the 4th time, part of me just wanted to cry and go home. Then I heard the tiniest little whisper inside me say, “No.”

I flipped on my best hill-busting song and went back up for my 5th and final hill, keeping all of the tips in mind for form and effort. I kept my eyes on the prize – a big tree just over the crest. It was painful and slow, but I made it.

hills 4_23

On the way down, my thoughts were all over the place. I don’t even remember them. What I remember is that somewhere during the mile cool down, a calm came over me. I realized that the biggest challenge for this race is going to be mental. If I let myself get stuck in doubt, I won’t stand a chance.

Surely, the hills will be brutal. But I won’t let them beat me. I am strong, determined, and ready.

Going UpI can do it.I can do it.I can do it.I can do it.I can do it.I can do it.I can do it. I can.

Just. Keep. Going.

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9 Responses to “The Hills Series: I need a bigger hill”

  1. Nikki April 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    Hills are so hard but so good for you. And even though I know this I still curse the whole way up yet I smile away at races when I’m prepared and ready for the hills. A friend of mine came up with this rhyme and it kinda helps me get through them: Hills suck, hills blow but the more you run the faster you’ll go!

  2. Amanda April 24, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Hills suck, but I have been trying to run up them because it’s supposed to make you faster. There is one hill I won’t run up because it’s short, steep and makes my calves hurt when I just walk! But you’ve been working on hill repeats a lot, and I think you’ll make this half marathon your bee-yatch. 🙂

    • Nikki April 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks, Amanda! I am trying to get myself back into a positive mindset.

  3. genext13 April 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Sounds like you are having fun! I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. I love your blog. You are always interesting, informative, and, yes, versatile! http://genext13.com/2013/04/24/versatile-blogger-award/

    • Nikki April 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      Yeahhhh that was definitely not fun.

      But thank you for the lovely nomination 🙂

  4. Christine April 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    I have no doubt that you will crush those hills.. Plus I always find hills way harder on a bike!

    • Nikki April 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      Thanks! I agree, biking a hill sucks way more than running one.

  5. Diana April 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    My upcoming half has small, rolling hills. I am refusing to think about it, because I do zero zippy hill training. Eek. This summer and fall, I will be doing hill training…. for my perfectly flat fall HM. LOL

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