Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I want to die right now. What are my legs doing? Am I even moving? This hurts. I want to stop. Want to stop and die. Waaaaaah.

Welcome to the internal dialogue of an Ohio runner meeting a hill in Pennsylvania. It sucks. And it happens every year.

I spend the summer training at home in Western PA. Then I go to school in Ohio, where hills are about as hard to find as political extremists. The geography doesn't make running much easier, since we're busy doing a bunch of hard training sessions and racing every weekend (on courses as flat as airstrips). No matter the surface, running hard is hard. I don't quite notice the lack of elevation change.

Then the season ends, and I go back home for the winter. Then Pennsylvania punches me in the face.

To illustrate, here's an elevation profile of a typical 8 mile run in Wooster, Ohio. It starts from my dorm:


A gentle little uphill, and then a steep downhill that goes on for a while before creeping back up again. Only 100 feet of elevation change either way. A nice little jog.

Here's what I did today, starting from my house:


8 miles, out and back. Up and down the whole way, with about three miles of uphill at the beginning. Not cool. Absolutely not cool. 

And the other day I ran with my ├╝ber-fit boyfriend. He directed me up a steep hill then turned around and smirked while I staggered up behind him. I was wheezing and gasping like a pug with asthma, hating myself for getting so Midwestern and soft.

"Oh, shut up Ohio," he said.

You shut up. I hate you. You're awful, said my brain to my boyfriend and myself.

Hills make everything hurt. They're only fun when you're good at running up them. Or when you're sledding down them.  How long is it going to take to turn myself back into a Pennsylvanian?

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