The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Thirty 5Ks… #4 (Hero Hill)

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It was cool but oddly humid when the gun sounded at Great Lakes Naval Base at 7:15 yesterday morning.  I was in a herd of 600+ runners who were running the 3 nautical mile course around parts of the base.  There were a bunch of other runners somewhere else who were running the ten miles from Ft. Sheridan down the road to Great Lakes.  The 3 nautical miles (3.45 land miles) would be enough for me, especially considering the thick air.  I kept hearing rumblings about Hero Hill and whether it was still at the end of the course or had been taken off the course or if it had only been placed in a different spot.  It was the latter.  I hit it after the first mile and thought it might better be named Holyfuckingshit Hill.  I couldn’t see the top of it most of the way up, which is kind of like real-life symbolism that would lend itself nicely to a poem.  I wasn’t thinking about poetry, though.  I was thinking about putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of how slowly that was happening.  I thought about giving myself a break—I’m not 16 anymore.  I’m not even 45.

I can thank my Cross Country coach who thirty years ago made us run up Big Bertha on a local golf course in preparation for running up Agony Hill at the New Prairie Cross Country Invitational.  Part of the New Prairie course passed through a dried up river bed, and you had to climb Agony Hill to get out of the river bed.

agony hill

Agony Hill at the New Prairie Cross Country Invitational.

Big Bertha was massive.  It rose almost 50 feet in less than a of a quarter mile.  We hated it after our first run up, and hated it exponentially more by our tenth run up, but it made us better and made Agony Hill manageable.  I was thinking about Big Bertha and Agony Hill as I hit Hero Hill.  A handful of naval officers stood beside the road and offered encouragement.  There were a few signs along the way about what heroism actually is.  I felt pretty good once I crested the hill, but that only lasted until the long, barren stretches that rounded out the course.  Those long, barren stretches are tests, too.  What are you going to do when the next turn is a point on the horizon that remains at a fixed distance no matter how fast you run?

Running is an existential crisis sometimes, but I made it through.  I thought I could do the course in less than 30 minutes, but I’ll settle for 30:27.  That damn hill put a dent in my time, but I finished in a real good place overall and in my age division.  Guess I’ll keep going.

Written by seeker70

August 29, 2016 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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