I hit a very exciting milestone yesterday: I finished a 10k!! Now, I wasn’t able to run for the whole thing unfortunately, but I was able to keep my walking to short periods of time and I finished the final kilometre and a half without stopping to walk so I’m pretty happy with the results. My final time was just a few minutes over an hour – which I’m sure seems extremely slow to anyone who has been running at all regularly for a moderate amount of time – but I know that with a bit of practice I should be able to cut out the walking sections and improve my overall time!
The thing that kept killing me on this run was the hills. I usually run on pretty flat ground so I haven’t actually done a run with hills in years (yes, that is plural) but yesterday I was running in Hamilton which is almost entirely hills, much to my dismay. I decided to go running on some trails in the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) instead of on the roads and had to climb a fairly significant hill and then a smaller one to get to the trail head and I was already feeling very winded by that time, but little did I know that I would eventually encounter what felt like my Everest for that run.
Once on the trails I followed one across the top of the escarpment to a lookout point over Cootes Paradise, and then another downhill towards the water’s edge, planning on taking a different trail that would loop back to my starting point. When I got to the fork however I noticed that the first trail to branch off was not as well travelled as I thought it would be (and started with a very steep incline) and there was another one a little further that seemed much more flat. I wavered a bit and considered taking the second, flatter trail, but ultimately decided to take the challenge and go up the Grey Doe Trail.
If perhaps, like me, you might have thought that the ‘grey’ part of Grey Doe Trail was referring to an old doe and therefore the trail would be a nice easy, meandering one after the initial short climb, you would be wrong. There was nothing meandering and easy about this trail and the only relation it has to being old is the way it made me feel like a 100-year old woman with joint pain by the time I finally got to the top.
That initial steep climb that I saw from the bottom of the trail was not even all of the first climb. I got to the end of what I had seen from the bottom and realized that I was only halfway up, but I persevered and made it to the top (barely) and continued on. From there I enjoyed a nice little flat-ish section and gave myself a mental (and too early) pat on the back for having finished the climb. A few minutes later there was a downhill section, and while at first it seemed short, the hill continued to go down as my feeling of dread and unhappiness rose. By the time the downhill was done, I feel certain that I was almost at the same level at which I’d started.
So of course I then had to do another climb, just as steep and non-meandering as the first. After finishing the climb (for good this time) I hobbled through the rest of my run to finish 10k, and though I am very sore today, and my hip flexors have never given me this much grief, I feel slightly accomplished and proud for having chosen the harder route and finished it.
I won’t, however, be following any deer trails for a run any time soon!