Yesterday I decided to run reps of it. Should have done hills on Thursday but I was so sore post-massage I just couldn't face it. It's a hill I've run up a couple of times but never got round to giving myself the reps treatment on it and given the Dirt Half is a month away it was high time I did a bit of dirty hill training.
So just over a mile run to the barriers and then it begins:
It doesn't look so bad does it? Quite dry and sandy underfoot though. To start with...
But it doesn't stay sandy for long. It gets uneven and muddy. This is where it starts to get a bit steeper too. The first 2 reps I had to walk up some of this. Not because I was out of breath but because my quads were screaming at me to stop.
This is the last bit (looking downhill). Steep, muddy and not much fun.
Anyway. The first two reps I had to do a bit of walking. Maybe a quarter of rep 1 and a bit less in rep 2. The next two I did manage to run, just. At the top I honestly didn't know whether I was going to puke, shit myself or just cry. My guts felt like they were doing somersaults- that really awful going inside-out kind of feeling. It was interesting that the problem wasn't a cardio one. I had taken care to pace myself carefully and although I did get a bit breathless it wasn't out of control. It was just my legs.
Now I'm not certain if it really was a lack of strength or whether it was a lack of faith. Since I managed to run (very slowly) reps 3 and 4 I think it might be the latter. It is odd how simply not believing that my legs could carry me through more than one go at the hill meant that I struggled. Some of it is the fear of failing, I think. At the back of my mind was the thought that if I run up the 1st rep then my legs will be empty and I won't manage any more reps. But instead of giving in to that I could have reminded myself what's the worst that can happen? The worst- having to walk in the subsequent reps and how is that any different or worse than walking some of the first two?
Anway, after rep 4 I thought that was probably enough so bimbled back down intending to get back on the road and go straight home. But I went past the MTB track we found the other week on the Wednesday Night Woodland Bimble and though it would be fun to revisit it in the daylight. By the time I'd got to the bottom of the hill the feeling of wanting to puke etc was a distant memory (so proving that actually I'm stronger and fitter than I let myself believe) and I really fancied a bit of exploring.
It got a bit squelchy and boggy in places but ended up here:
well worth the extra mile or so! And I did feel restored...
...even if my feet were wet and muddy!