First the pain, then the endorphins

There’s no pain like hill pain.

And I got a big ole heapin’ helping of pain today as I ran to the top of Crown Hill Cemetery six times in a row.

How steep is this hill? It’s like running up 15 or 20 flights of a fire-escape ladder. It’s like running up the side of the Grand Canyon.

At least that’s how it felt to me, and my flatland Hoosier legs.

The photo doesn't do justice to the steepness of the hill, but it's the best one I could find. The downtown skyline is in the background.

Before I started the repeats, I warmed up for 15 minutes, running around the low ground of the cemetery. A light rain fell, keeping me cool.

Then when I was done loosening up and couldn’t put it off any longer, I headed for The Hill.

My stomach started to hurt. It knew that bad things were about to happen.

This is no normal slope. This is the south face of the steepest, baddest, highest point in the cemetery at 842 feet. It’s also the highest hill in the county.

Getting to the top once is not a big deal. Getting to the top four or five or six times is a bitch, plain and simple.

(I would love to paste a topo map of this hill here. I found one on Google maps, but can’t figure out how to make a copy. The contour lines around this hill are thick with lines. It’s amazing.)

I started my repeats at a fixed point a few hundred feet back from the hill, at the “Section 15” stone marker, to work up some momentum. Then about 20 seconds later, I hit the Big Climb. You know when you’ve hit it. It’s when you slow down to baby steps, start pumping your arms like crazy and wonder what is making that loud wheezing noise.

At the top, I punched my watch, stopped running and let out a scream.

Here are my times — 1:56, 1:48, 1:51, 1:55, 1:52, 1:52.

By the last two repeats, it started to rain much heavier, but I didn’t mind. I had bigger problems. My heart and lungs were not happy, and told me knock it off, RIGHT NOW! I told them to get a grip.

Besides if I were to keel over, I’m sure the grave diggers could find a spot for me.

I finished up my hills, did a 10-minute cooldown, and called it a day.

A few minutes later, the endorphins kicked in. I suddenly remembered why I do this.


LOOKING AHEAD: The long run


This trail is popular with cyclists. That's OK with me. I'll just keep my eyes open so there's no collisions.

On Sunday, I just might try a new trail that a friend recently recommended. It’s a 10-mile loop around a lake at Westwood Park in New Castle, Ind., about an hour east of Indy.

I need to run 20-22 miles, so I’ll have to do at least two loops of this trail. From the photos I’ve seen, it doesn’t look that rugged.

I’m ready for some new scenery. I’ve hit all the local trails, time and time again. It’s time to try something brand new — unless I get a better offer between now and Sunday.


One Response to “First the pain, then the endorphins”

  1. Sheridan Says:

    so funny , if you died they could just roll you into a plot!

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