Hill repeats of death

Wednesday I was scheduled to do 3 miles – 1 with some intensity and 2 easy ones. Given that I had such a rough week, it would be wise to ease my way back into running. That was the plan. I did not follow my plan.

I saw a post about easy paced hill repeats at Sanders Mound. I thought, well, if I am going to sign Bowie up for Skyline Shuffle, I should get him on some hills and acclimated to trail. Why not take Bowie out for a few easy hill repeats?

The repeats were not easy for me. Maybe last year they would have felt easy. But not now. This was a mistake and I should have stuck to my plan.


Pre Run Groupie, photo by Matt Quijas.


Bowie and I met up with the Trail Hawks at trail head. We headed out on the white trail for a short jaunt before heading up to Sanders Mound. Sanders Mound is .6 miles each way. The hill is sort of a bowl, you descend a little bit and then climb back up. I just concentrated on the park bench at the top and imagined using my arms to pull me up some imaginary rope to the top. Once at the top, I was so excited to show Bowie the view. (He finished slightly before me.) Sanders Mound is a bit of a peninsula, with the lake on 3 sides. It was cloudy and rainy (we had just caught a break in the rain), and the wind was kicking up. There was a sail boat out on the lake and Bowie thought that was pretty cool.


Photo by Mile 90 Photography


And then… we started back down the mound and back up to the trail head. I asked Bowie if he wanted to try another repeat and he said sure. He took off with the pack and was right on their heels. I was nagging behind a bit, huffing and puffing like a steam engine. He made the summit just after the group and I was a little further back this time.


Photo by Mile 90 Photography


The segment back to the trail head was even slower for me. When I made it back, Bowie was sitting on a log waiting for me. I plopped down beside him and asked if he wanted to try again. I was done, but he could follow the rest of the group and make the loop himself. He said he thought he was done, so I offered him a drink of water and a little rest break. He had a big drink and decided that he was in fact done. I am sure he had another repeat or two in him, but I will never push him to run if he doesn’t want to. We said good-bye to a few Trail Hawks that were taking a break to kick a soccer ball around while the others made another hill repeat.


Post Run selfie with Bowie


I was pretty disappointed in myself. The entire drive back, I thought about how everything is so hard. Things that used to be so easy for me were such a struggle now. Pretty much every minute of the day, I fight to stay awake and focused. I guess it is easy to slip into a dark place and feel sorry for yourself. I didn’t ask to get sick. I didn’t ask for all my favorite hobbies to be taken away from me. But… None of these thoughts are productive. It doesn’t get me anywhere.

Last summer, I was pretty much bed-ridden. I tried going out for a run on the Fourth of July and made it a mile before I gave up. I can run now. I am slow, but I can run. Someday, hopefully soon, the doctors will solve the puzzle and I will get better. I will be me again. Until then, I just have to celebrate the small wins. My half marathons will be slow. But I will run them. And when I am better, I will run marathons and ultras again. I just have to try to continue being patient.

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