Sunday, May 25, 2008

Facing my demons

Today was a little different. It was my first run since the Blue Nose Half Marathon and my first run without my running club in months. I must say, I missed my running buddies; I prefer to run solo, but I enjoy the camaraderie of starting and finishing with the group and sharing a few stories over a post-run coffee.

I took advantage of my alone time to face one of my demons. I have my very own "Heartbreak Hill". It's about a two hundred foot climb, spread out over a third of a mile or so. I watched my father take it head on a couple of years ago, an awe-inspiring feat for sure. But for me, this hill has prematurely ended many a good run - I simply refer to it as be-atch.

I've actually had nightmares about this two minute ascent. There I was, leading the Boston Marathon with one mile to go (more of a delusion than a nightmare, I know). Course signage advised that a detour was in effect and guess where the detour brought me - right to the base of be-atch, the finish line was at the top. I woke in a cold sweat, it had beaten me again.

This short stretch of topography has actually caused me to forego running certain routes in our city in attempt to avoid her merciless attack on my psyche. I even know people in our Running Club that probably wouldn't show up for a Sunday run if they knew be-atch was part of the route.

Today would be different.

I set out for an easy three miler, planning to face my demons after mile two. It was a great morning for a run, it was a great morning to take back part of my city.

As I got closer to my rival, there was my buddy, the sun, shining down on me. I've drawn a lot of inspiration from my bright-eyed friend and I don't mind telling you that I talk to him on a regular basis during long Sunday runs - hey, whatever works, right? He winked at me, I winked back - I wasn't letting him down today.

I made the final left turn and started my climb. I caught myself taking a quick glance towards the top where I'm sure I could see the pearly gates, that's how far away it appeared to be. One foot in front of the other, that's all I had to do.

Half way up I took a quick look at my watch to gauge my pace, I was flying, in relative terms of course. Turns out mile three, which included the hill, was my fastest of the day. Once at the top, I managed a quick little fist pump and then went to work regaining the breath that be-atch had punched out of me. I finished with a slow jog to the finish line. I'm a hill machine.

Now I own you, be-atch.


Anonymous said...

Love it!


Crazy Legs said...

It is all about believing you can do something in order to accomplish it. Good work Chancey...and I am guessing be-atch is behind the old Janeway on East White Hills?

You lead by example! You are a hill machine!


Rsc said...

Great run Mark.
Your Dad must be a grear runner to do that at his age.