The Launceston Running Club holds a handicapped race in beautiful White Hills, just 20 minutes south of Launceston, it was today. Hills, hills and more hills. Steep hills. Some undulation. Big inclines and then a fast decline before yet another hill to the finish. It’s a 9.75km run that starts and finishes at the Van Dieman Brewery.
This is the third time this event has been run and my third time too. Last year I took the plunge and tried a beer and so began the tradition of my Annual Beer Day.
But first the race.
My handicap is rather generous at the moment. I think I need to be pulled back. At 19:00 minutes after the start of the clock I was off: down a wonderful country lane complete with cattle stops (or grids). Native territory for this Unsporty Woman. All up three cattle stops to zoom over. Then down onto a flat where the river runs. The evidence of the recent floods was everywhere: debris and road damage, fences looking worse for wear.
Then the first massive up. What’s not to LOVE about a hill?
Let’s pause for a moment. When someone suggests a hilly run, I fairly burst out of my skin with anticipation and happiness. Why? Because I have taught myself to love hills. It wasn’t easy. But it can be done. Rather than thinking how horrible a hill is, think about how truly wonderful they are!
Hills are our friends. Why?
- They build endurance and stamina
- They build mental strength
- They act like speed or interval work without the huge injury risk
- If we love them, they are not a deterrent to run a hilly event
Hill repeats. Do them. Love them. Celebrate them. Then when a hill comes in a race or a fun run… Ta Da! You’re ready for it. You will be a Pro. You will get to the top and throw your arms in the air and say I ran that hill. Go me! Mighty. That’s how you’ll feel.
Well at least that’s what I do and it has worked for me.
Back to today’s race.
As I slowly chipped up that hill chanting in my head I am a hill runner, I can run up hills. I am a hill runner, I can run up hills, I thought about how awesome the top was going to feel. On the climb I chipped past four runners who had started running before 19:00 mintues. At the top I was fair puffing. Then a little flat and another hill. Then another great big one before the big down began.
Most of the surfaces were compacted gravel (my favourite running surface, just like our farm driveway). It’s been freezing all week and today was just as cold. It’s been icy and we’ve had snow on the mountains and frosts in most places. I was concerned that the shady downhill part of the course would be slippery. Nope, it wasn’t. I fairly flew down that big hill. I past two more runners and finally one of the gazelle’s (someone who started after me) raced by like I was standing still. Then another. And then another (a friend who has the longest legs, he was fair puffing like a steam train, he was really putting in today). I cheered them all on but especially Scotty.
Finally one more corner then up to the finish. I past one more runner at this point before finally crossing the finish line.
I had the best run in a long long time. I loved every single moment of it. Despite the cold the sun was out. What’s not to love about a hilly cool run on a sunny day? Everything. There is everything to love about it.
Fifth place for me today. That was great. Most encouraging. But this is the Club where we can run for fun. That’s what was most important to me today. To run and enjoy it. What a great run one week out from Marathon number four.
And then it was Beer-0-clock! Can’t say I’m a huge fan of beer, but it just feels right to drink a toast to such a wonderful race that’s sponsored by a boutique brewery.
Happy running 🙂