Over the hill … and still climbing

January 17, 2013

On October 29, I was just about to start an uphill interval when I had an unsettling realization.

“I haven’t done a hill workout in over two years,” I announced to my training partners, “…because hills are bad for my Achilles.”

My left Achilles tendon had been feeling fine, so I went ahead with the workout, which didn’t seem to do any real damage. But boy was I slow! Ian and Tim repeatedly glided away from me as if I had just given blood.

In the long process of regaining fitness, regaining uphill speed has seemed especially hard. Eleven days after the workout noted above, I repeatedly climbed a Ravenna Park hill that, in my heyday, lasted about 83 seconds. Now I needed 95.

You know what, though? Training still works. I’ve since done a bunch more hills, supplemented with some stair-stepping at the gym, and I’m getting better. In last Saturday’s Bridle Trails 5-Mile race, I finally shed my 25-year-old pursuer with a surge on the course’s last ascent, about half a mile from the finish.

It was, if nothing else, a reasonable sign of progress.

post-race smile Hooray for hills! Race volunteer Eric Sach and runner-up Keith Laverty are in the background. Photo taken from Win Van Pelt’s collection.


  1. Shaving off that beard-ish thing would probably shave a couple of seconds off your time. 😉

    • “Beard-ish thing”? How contemptuous!

      • “Near beard”? “Lite beer-d”?

        I assume it’s a work in progress and I’m passing judgment too soon?

  2. I was too busy to shave last week, that’s all.

  3. It is great to see that your comeback is progressing nicely!

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