Before we moved to our new home in June, I lived on a flat street. I ran on flat streets too.
Sure, there were hills all around me, but I intentionally avoided them, the real ones, anyway. That is why I was thrown off when we bought a house on a steep slope that ran toward the bottom of Green Mountain in southeast Huntsville.
Without fail, I started every run full speed ahead… downhill. But I would ensure that my mileage goal for the day was achieved before I actually had to go back up the hill (even if it meant running in circles in the cul-de-sac below). I did feel as if I was cheating, but didn’t feel guilty enough to actually incorporate the upward slope into my daily runs.
There is apparently something to this Hal Higdon training thing I’ve been doing. After completing the Women’s Half Marathon in Nashville last month, I noticed that my average pace per mile has improved. Moreover, I have gone longer distances with less effort.
And today, I decided I would actually run up my hill. I didn’t do it quickly, but I did it intently, focusing on getting to the first driveway, then the next, then the next, etc… until I was home. There are many articles touting the benefits of running uphill, including this one by Runner’s World, which cites experts who say this element of your training can improve your speed. Hard as it might be, I am going to give it a shot.
So maybe I didn’t conquer a Colorado mountaintop, but I conquered a steep-for-me, uphill jaunt that had intimidated me for months — another reminder that the trick to overcoming most of life’s challenges, physical or otherwise, really is mind over matter.