This particular 5K had a mile which you ran through a forest on wood chips (that’s what they said, honestly I didn’t see any wood chips and I saw a lot of grass and just plain old uneven ground).  So, as we rounded a corner, ran across a park and eventually neared the forest I saw two things:  First, people coming out of the woods (holy crap, they were a mile ahead of me!) and something which just simply didn’t make sense at first.  I saw a dirt path of sorts leading up a ridiculously steep slope… and people walking up this ridiculously steep slope.  My very first thought – I swear –  that doesn’t even look safe. The realization of the ridiculously steep hill being part of the course dawned on me slowly and then I started to panic a bit.  I didn’t want to stop but no one seemed to be running up this thing and aside from that darling little factoid is the truth that I’d barely practiced hills and I certainly didn’t seek out huge ditches to climb out of to practice for a grade THAT FREAKING STEEP.  I’d pretty much resigned myself to walking up the stupid thing when I looked over at Shelly and she said “We can do this!”

Awesome.

It took half a second for me to thing well, ok, I can give this a shot. And then Shelly fired past me as she shot up the hill.  I made it to the top, incredibly winded…. and kept on running.  After a bit we saw people doubling back on the trail as they headed out of the forest and sure enough, there was another LONGER crazy hill they were climbing.  I mentally prepared myself for this one by thinking it’s ok, I have a lot of time to recover from the first one before that one. And it worked… or would have if there hadn’t been ANOTHER OF THE CRAZY STEEP HILLS before the one that we’d seen.

All I can say is I managed to run up all 3 of those ridiculous hills.  I will call them ridiculous hills until the day I die.  I cannot express how steep of a grade these things were, or the tree roots in the path as we ran up those things, or the feeling that if I slowed down even a little I’d either slide down or fall backwards off the hill.  They were that steep people and I ran up all 3 of them.  However, at the top of the third, both Shelly and I had to stop and walk.  I think I could have recovered from two hills, but not that third one.  So we walked a bit and then started to run again however, for me, walking is the kiss of death.  Once I do it… I do it again and I know it.

Once we left the forest the sun seemed hot hot hot and my legs seemed shaky (wonder why).  So, when there was a short hill I decided to walk up it.  I didn’t want to have my legs give out underneath me and end up with road rash.  I picked up running again at the top of that one (Shelly had kept going because she rocks.) and ran for….well…. and eternity it seemed.  I knew my pace wasn’t very fast at this point.  I had absolutely NO energy left and quite honestly, the decision to walk again seemed pretty darned easy as I felt quite certain I’d be going the same speed anyway.

This time, Shelly joined me in walking.

I felt a bit defeated.  Stupid hills.  We decided we’d start running again when we saw the finish line… and we did.  I will even say we ran at a pretty good clip, all things considered.

The coolest bit?  They announced our names as we crossed the finish line.

Freaking awesome.

(I’ll finish this up tomorrow!)

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