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03/25 2009


dsc_0373It comes in many shapes and sizes.  I ran yesterday – the seven hills of Rockland, a run in Victoria that’s known for its intensity.  The usual Friday afternoon group has been ‘hit and miss’ for some time: they hit it, and I miss it.  This week RC and I ran it solo.

On the first and second hills I thought the run was turning into a lame experience.  Immediately ready to vomit, I could feel the lactic acid screaming through my body.  Pulsing from my lower legs, it tore into my quads.  On the first half of the third hill I actually thought my body was processing it – Olympic athlete and all.  Before I could smile with contempt ‘Annie’ came knocking.  The lactic acid had been staging its attack.

I’ll ask my mother-in-law what her heart attack felt like – but I think I already know.  Each of my heartbeats –  of which by now there were 178 a minute – punished me like the open palm of God squashing a fly on a window.  Or better yet, it felt like that ‘celestial being’ was wringing me out like an old dank smelly dishrag, ready to be tossed.

I felt like stopping after that third hill.  By the time we ran to the base of the fourth hill I had come up with three very good reasons to stop – not bad considering the amount of oxygen reaching my brain by that point.  I didn’t mention any of them.

It turns out the run wasn’t lame at all.  Sure it hurt – and I took a healthy blow to my ego.  But how many of us get to push into that feeling of utter discomfort?  And then push through it?  My buddy had a legitimate medical reason that should have stopped him – but it didn’t.  And as he crested each hill and looked for me over his shoulder he pulled back to let me catch up.  How sweet.

The fifth hill really made me feel it.

The sixth hill, Latbiniere, can make or break a runner.  We took it head on.  Into the first turn I could actually focus on the hill, not on my body.  The second chicane felt great too – and RC hadn’t pulled as far away as he had on the previous hills.  I forgot there was a third turn to the hill.  The gap opened up.  Deflated, I saw the long run-out at the top of the hill stretch out in front of me.  Sure it sucked – but I was having fun.

I didn’t cry.  I didn’t stop.  I didn’t vomit.  It didn’t kill me – it made me stronger.

As we approached the seventh and final hill, somewhere between breaths I blurted out “Want to run this one right out to the Art Gallery?”  It was more like a burp.  I essentially doubled the last hill.  The guys I roll with never back down – not even for good reasons.


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