In which I make it up the hill!
Updated: May 27
An odd sounding achievement, but it's something I've been trying to conquer for a couple of months now...
This hill has been my nemesis for a couple of months. I have been running for about three years in total, but up until recently, I'd only been making it out about twice a week. I was struggling to find the time between school runs, work and keeping on top of everything at home. Since we've been in lockdown and I've been furloughed, I've had a lot more time to get out and about for exercise.
On a weekday morning, I've been doing two short runs of about 5 miles on average. Heading out pretty much as soon as I wake up and getting back in time for a quick shower and breakfast before the home schooling starts. At the weekend I try and do at least seven miles. The weekends are normally a no-go for me. On Saturday's I get up quite early, as it's my turn to clean at our family pub. Then I race back get ready to take the Son to his football training in the local park. The Husband coaches, I help with the teas and coffees and the Daughter spends the whole time moaning that she's bored and generally makes a nuisance of herself. And then it's a quick shower for the Son, before we all head down to work. Sunday's are the Husband's golf day, but as he can play when he likes at the moment, I have the choice of running on a Saturday or Sunday.
There is a particularly scenic route that I like to take, as I have more time to myself and can push myself a little further. It's about eight miles and starts off with a killer of a hill to get the legs working. It's not particularly steep, but it seems to go on forever and is quite narrow in places, which results in many occasions of runner vs car! When you finally reach the top, you can appreciate some of the gorgeous cliff top views, then it's onwards through the country lanes. By the time you've reached the small village which boasts the Killer Hill, you've built up a reasonable sweat and are suitably breathless.
From the moment I take the turning from the quiet B road to the village, butterflies start to build in my stomach. I think I've become a bit of a defeatist when it comes to this hill. In my defence, it does get incredibly steep towards the end, just at the point when your lungs are screaming out for air and your legs are ready to collapse at any moment. I think I'd previously made five attempts to get up the bloody climb, but each time, I would stop and walk part of it, much to my shame.
Luckily, Boris recently loosened the reigns on lockdown, and I was able to drag my running partner Toni out with me. Nothing defeats her and I knew that if anyone was going to get me up it, then she would. The only thing stopping me was my lack of willpower. "Right, I know what I'm going to do" she announces, as we make our way into the village "I'm going to film you going up!" Now, any sensible person, with even an ounce of concern for their appearance and self respect, would have refused to let someone film them whilst they're sweating, gasping for breath, gagging, heaving, moaning, panting... you name it... But I knew that she was on to something. "Brilliant idea" I proclaimed. She looked at me, surprised by my ready agreement. "There's no way I'm going to give up if I know you're catching it all on camera!". We rounded the corner and the picturesque village church came into view. I began to groan, "Oh no, I'm doubting myself." By this point, the camera on her phone is already rolling and she's giving her commentary of my ascent. I have no choice but to plough on. "That's it, keep your head down, don't stop those legs moving. Go, Go, Go!" I was doing well until half way up, able to maintain a reasonable speed, but I knew the tough part was still to come. Toni's running on in front of me, backwards up the hill in order to get a good shot of me. I'm not sure if this is an advantage or not. "You're crazy" I splutter. "Ahh, but it's working though isn't it" and she's right; I just carry on up the steep, not allowing myself to think, slow down, or even breath. "Yay, you made it" she laughs, as we reach the summit. "Give us a smile then." I can't even turn my head in her direction, let alone smile at her.
I am euphoric, although it takes me a good five minutes to be able to catch my breath to tell her so. "Thank you Toni" I call out from 10 metres behind her. I chat happily the rest of the way home and collapse at the dining room table as soon as I get in, pouring over my Strava results and analysing my segments with the criticism of a professional marathon runner. To my delight, Strava tells me that I am the fourth fastest woman in the world to run that hill. That isn't quite as impressive as it sounds: it only applies to people that use the app and the village is so remote, the only ones who really venture there are the residents and the local Pub Quiz teams. I immediately sent a screen shot of this to the Husband and Toni.
"Fantastic" she replies. "Why were you power walking up that hill?" was the Husband's sarcastic reply from the bathtub upstairs. I chose to ignore him. Later he decides to tackle the hill himself, to see what all the fuss is about. He confesses that he had forgotten just how steep the final third was and tells me he was gagging at the top! "Told you so" I reply gleefully...
What have you overcome recently? Have you succeeded at a goal? Let me know in the comments section.
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