You know how you can tell in advance that some things will be unavoidably awful, but you put your head down and plow into them anyway because they simply have to get done? Things like filling out your tax forms or raking an autumn’s worth of leaves or organizing your basement after avoiding doing so for years? And usually it turns out to be not anywhere near as bad as you thought it would be. Isn’t that great when that happens?
It is as if the accumulated dread acts in advance to thoroughly recalibrate your sense of bad vs. not-so-bad so that when you are done with the onerous task you often end up saying something like, “Well. That wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
Well, after running the Monson Memorial Half Marathon yesterday to “celebrate” my 43rd birthday, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that running uphill for eight continuous miles is NOT in the category of “Things That Are Not As Bad As You Thought They Would Be.”
In fact, it turns out there is a-whole-nother category of things titled “Things That Will Be Worse Than You Thought They Would Be, No Matter How Bad You Thought They Would Be”. In this category I would put George W. Bush’s second term as President, the surgical removal of all four unemerged wisdom teeth all at once, and running eight continuous miles uphill.
The Monson Memorial Half Marathon course runs uphill from mile 0 to the end of mile 8. Then it runs back down to the start over the next 5.1 miles. The first half of the race took me over an hour. The second half of the race took 46 minutes. As I saw on a bumper sticker once: “Gravity: It’s Not Just a Good Idea; It’s The Law!”
I ran a half marathon in Missoula back in July and I was very happy with my time of 8:43 per mile. In Monson I was hoping to at least match my Missoula time, but also maybe to improve on it if the day was a good one. As it turned out, the day was good one—sunny and 53 degrees. And if you add my two halves together you end up with 108 minutes and 20 seconds or so. Which turns out to be 8:16 per mile. Woo Woo!!
I was thrilled with this improvement.
Which does not at all mitigate how truly awful it is to run eight continuous miles uphill. No matter how bad it sounds to you, it is worse than it sounds.
I can’t wait to do it again next year. How bad could it be?