The Hills Are Alive

Lost: hill training motivation.

I’m in a wee slump.  Going up the hill, but not really giving it my all.  And the thing is, I enjoy, perhaps even love, the torture/thrill of hill training.  Most of the time.  I’ve even been known to run bonus (notice the positive wording: bonus, like a prize, not extra, like a punishment) hill repeats, just to make sure I leave it all on the hill.  My upcoming marathon is hilly.  Notoriously so.  Runner’s World offers a list of “The greatest, most daunting hills in U.S. races”.  My marathon hill?  On that list.

Heartbreak Hill, Boston Marathon

Where It Hits: The fourth of the “Newton Hills,” beginning just past the 20-mile mark at Grant Avenue

How Long, How Hard: .37 miles, rising 88 feet. An average grade of 4.5 percent, but comes late in the race.

How to Conquer It: Four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers calls Heartbreak Hill “the single most significant hill in all of road racing.” His advice: Hold back on the downhills and on the three Newton Hills. Then “put the hammer down, especially over the top.”

Hill Story: On this stretch in 1936, defending champ Johnny Kelley passed Ellison “Tarzan” Brown and gave him a pat on the backside, assuming that Brown had bonked. Brown rallied to retake the lead and win, while Kelley faded to fifth. Boston Globe sports editor Jerry Nason described this as “breaking Kelley’s heart.”

Hill training motivation found.


Title Reference:  Julie Andrews – Sound of Music.  From the album The Sound of Music. 1965.


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