Pain is your friend, dammit!

I’m normally not into pain.

I scream like a banshee when I stub my toe or burn my finger or crack my head on a countertop. After I’m done screaming, I let loose with a lot of interesting words protected by the First Amendment.

That’s what I think of pain most days.

But it’s marathon training season, so everything changes.

These days, I go out and find pain, once a week. I stare it in the face and say: “You wanna mess?!”

Of course, we’re talking about hill repeats.

As every runner knows, hill repeats are — hmm, how do I say this nicely? — a real kick in the balls. You look for the toughest hill in town and charge up it as fast as you can.

Then you do it five or six more times, pushing, pushing, pushing, always making it hurt. Dig deep, and feel the misery.

If that doesn’t sound like fun, you’re probably a golfer.

It all started today, my kickoff for weekly hill repeats. I went out to Crown Hill Cemetery at lunchtime and warmed up for a good, long while, probably three miles. I just ran and ran around the low section of the cemetery, avoiding the hills as long as possible. I trotted around monuments and chapels and signs that said such things as “Cremation Memorial Garden, Turn Right” and “Flowers Will Be Removed February 22.”

Oh yeah, I did a long warmup, brother. And why? Because I’ve been here before, and I know how much it hurts to run those hills, the ones just waiting for me. (See here and here and here.)

Finally, I had run through just about every section of the cemetery, and knew I would eventually have to return to work. It was time to get down to business.

So I trotted over to the Big Hill and looked to the top, the highest point in Marion County. Oh man, that looked steep. Too steep.

Today, I would settle for the second biggest hill in the cemetery.

I charged to the top, several hundreds yards up a paved road. I slipped a bit in the snow. But I kept going.

I pushed myself to do it six times. Here are my times: 1:30, 1:20, 1:11, 1:08, 1:10 and 1:10.

Whew. Afterward, I did a lazy mile at the bottom and drove back to work. I caught my breath about two hours later.

Can’t wait until next week. C’mon, Mister Pain. Let’s tussle.

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4 Responses to “Pain is your friend, dammit!”

  1. my hilly runs have my shins screaming!! what to do stretch rest HELP 17 days left Oh NO!! what have I done? why did I decide to start hilly runs 3 weeks away from my first marathon idiot!

  2. You don’t golf much, do you?

  3. Hey I golf and I think hill repeats are fun! Not!

    If you walk the course, it can be a good workout. One time I decided to Garminize my golf game (I know – hold your excitement in check) and I found that I had walked 4.5 miles that day. That didn’t count all the times I had to climb hills to get to my ball (ya I’m not a very good shot) because I had left my Garmin on my cart. So my mileage only counted where I took my cart. Not bad for a day of golf, 4.5 miles clocked!

    Oh, but I do hear ya on the hill repeats. I’m done with hill repeats until after my 50k on 3/13 – which will include lots of hills – woo hoo!

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