Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Looming Large

I'm planning to run a local 5k in about 10 days, a race during which I made my 5k debut last year.  Which in fact, is still the only race I've actually run.  But that's an entirely separate post.

This race traces through the neighborhood in which I grew up, and I love running along those streets that I've tread since I was very small.  There's one part of the course, however, that is a treacherous and seemingly endless hill.  It starts right around mile 2, and for me, that is always the hardest part of a 5k.  I've run far enough to feel fatigued but the end is still nowhere in sight.  Add that mental low to a serious hill and it makes for a tough race.

The hills are all in my head.  I know my legs are strong; it's my brain that needs to catch up.

I haven't run this part of the course in months, so I revisited it last week, and as I remembered, it felt very difficult.  The trouble is that the hill seems to go on forever.  You can't see the entire hill from the bottom as a curve obstructs the view.  When I reach the point that initially looked like the top, I follow the curve and realize I've only finished half of the hill.  Even though I've run this hill many times, it still looms large in my head.

This weekend, I knew I had to nip my worries about this hill in the bud.  We visited my parents' cabin, which is set in a heavily wooded and highly hilly area.  The hills near their cabin put all inclines near my house to shame, so as I ran up and down them on Saturday, my legs learned the true meaning of the word hill.  I conquered some big ones this weekend - longer, steeper, and scarier than the one in the upcoming 5k - and it felt great.