August 10th 2016
Today I ran up a mountain. Well, it was more like a hill. In fact, it was literally a hill. A month ago when I started my new job and ‘joined’ the running club I was told that the initiation into the running club was to tackle The HillTM. It’s apparently a sort of right of passage that to be a true member of the club everyone has to run to the top of The HillTM at least once. Today was that day for me.
I’d been dreading it, because everyone had built it up so much – it even has it’s own trade mark goddammit (although I doubt it’d hold up in court). In my mind I was picturing it was Mount Doom, and it was going to take an epic journey (and three three hour movies) to get to the top of it.
In reality it took me like 15 minutes of reasonably painful jogging. Basically, it wasn’t as bad as I’d built it up to be. I mean, it was steep and painful and horrible, and everything. But no where near as bad as I’d pictured it in my head. There were parts of the trek where I thought I would have to turn around. Much like it’s middle earth counterpart it began to play tricks with me. There’d be a steep gradient and then flat surface for 100 metres. This made me think I’d reached the top, but no… The HillTM would then throw an even steeper climb at me.
Eventually I reached the top. I conquered Mount Doom. I threw the ring in the fire. I lit the beacon.
I’m told that upon conquering The HillTM it’s customary to get a photo alongside the beacon of Robinswood Hill.
I thought it was going to be so much harder, which made it so much easier. The build up from my own imagination stirred by what I’d heard about it from others meant that going into the trek I was scared of it. And don’t get me wrong, it was hard. But I did it. And it was worth it for the view.
I’ve said a lot recently that I think a big majority of running has nothing to do with your feet or your fitness. I think that a lot of running is in your mind. If your body tells you to stop you can just choose to fight it and carry on. If your mind tells you to stop you suddenly feel like you have to, even if your legs feel fine and you can breathe okay. As soon as your mind goes “NOPE” then you’re done. In my opinion, you conquer the mental side and the physical bit comes easy. All you’ve gotta do is put one foot in front of the other. It’s just like walking except more competitive.
The great thing about climbing up a steep hill is that as a consequence, you get to go back down it. And going down is easy because it’s like 90% gravity. The hard part is making sure you aren’t going too fast. When sprinting downhill it’s easy to lose control of your speed and end up styling a trip into a forward roll. Which, I’m told, someone has done on that hill before.
When I got to the bottom again, one of the guys I was running with asked me if I wanted to turn around and climb it again.
Until tomorrow, maybe next time.