This statement was one of the first things I heard my teammate Olivia say when we met. We were going on a team run last summer. Not just a rolling hill run. An elevation gain of 1800 feet in 2 miles, nearly straight up, please install a rope run. Galena Mountain South end trail is considered a “day hike” if you Google it. From the parking lot, it’s a slow warmup for nearly a mile with a 200+ elevation gain. Then the trail splits. The smart person would turn right for a still challenging trail run with lots of hills. Our team, however, goes left. 2 miles straight up to an elevation of over 8100 feet.
Climbing 1800 feet in 2 miles on a “run” for me means walking as fast as possible, throwing in a jog when I can and having a 2 mile PR of 36 minutes. Last night, I did it in 38-39 minutes. Even though I wasn’t first to the top, I wasn’t last either and I was proud of my time. This is the run that – when it pops up on the training schedule – I think to myself, “I love trails. This is a beautiful run. I can push it harder tonight. I’ve got this.” Then, during the nearly 1 mile warm up I think, “Screw it. I don’t care if it takes me an hour to get up this mountain. I just want to crawl to the top to say I did it. This is a day hike. I love working my quads though. I’ll just work them more slowly. Holy crap this is just the warm up!” It is not only physically challenging, it’s a mental battle to push up this beast.
View from the top!! Everyone except Coach who took the picture
Getting to the top,however?? Priceless. Badass. Amazing. Exhilarating. Euphoric. Insanely proud feeling. I love it more every time.
Being silly together. What’s with the Can Can??
Then there’s the 2 miles back down. I love running down, but this is so steep, so trail slippery, so many rocks and tree roots that a 9 minute mile down is fast. And a little scary. And fun. Super fun. At the bottom when we all regrouped, Coach took us back towards the parking lot, but veered in a different direction. For hill repeats. Seriously. 4 of them. As hard as we could push. I thought, “No way.” and then did it. Holy cow my team rules!! Even though Olivia couldn’t be with us last night, her voice of optimistic encouragement is always in my mind. “I love hills! You can do it! We are awesome!” Indeed, my friend. Indeed.
After one of the hill repeats. Sam was above us (which means he made it further) and thought it was funny. We did a caption this and it was punchy funny. But I know Sam was in this same position while taking the shot….