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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Embracing the Hills

On the way to Clayton this morning some of us were slightly delayed by some poor fool who managed to wrap his BMW around a telephone pole just before the left turn on to Emley's Hill Road. Thankfully, it didn't appear that anyone was hurt. I saw what I assumed to be the unhappy driver walking around near the scene with a trooper as the flat bed driver prepared to drag the wreck off the pole to be hauled away.

By the time we finally got underway it was about 7:15. We headed straight into the trails from the parking lot and wasted no more time. We worked our way out to the Doctor's Trail and then stopped at the foot of the big hill -- those of you who have run with us know what hill I'm talking about. It was at that point that we began to kick things up a notch. While some may have felt not too unlike that poor driver who ran into the pole every one of the unsuspecting warriors that had joined us this morning were great sports and rose to the challenge presented to them.

So what was the challenge you ask? From the foot of the hill we took off two by two sprinting uphill for about 50 yards. When the first pair reached the top we turned around and jogged back down to the bottom to recover while the next pair took off. When the last pair was done the first pair repeated the climb except this time we stretched it out, sprinting about 100 yards up the hill before turning it around and jogging back down. The process continued until everyone had done the 100 yards. Then we did it again stretching the third rep out to about 150 yards. When everyone had put in their 150 yard hill sprints it was time to step our way back down the ladder. We then did another round of the 100 yards followed by a final round of the 50 yards. In the end we had completed a total of 5 hill sprints of 50-100-150-100-50 yards on a hill that most people complain about having to run up just once each week. Not wanting to make things too different for everyone this week we then took off together all the way up the hill and continued with our run.

By this time it was about 7:40 and we usually try to get people in and out within an hour so we found our way over to and took a trip back down the other side of the big hill. Then we hooked a left and headed out the way we came. This, of course, meant we were running pretty much uphill most of the way out. I was actually surprised at how much energy several folks still had on the way out. I started thinking...from the back of the herd...that maybe some of them held back a little on the hill sprints?

It was just a few minutes past 8 when we got back to the parking lot. Our shortest run to date but I don't think anyone felt as though they put in any less work this week. If they did it was their own fault for not embracing the hills.

Editorial note:
Today's hill workout as well as the title of this blog post was inspired by the article, BREATH TAKING by Michael Lanza, published in this months Runner's World. If you haven't read it yet I would highly suggest it. I was very pleased to see the mag dedicate some space to trail running. I just worry that somewhere out there this weekend there might be someone running their first 5k with their shoes tied improperly because of it. :) Just kidding, I love you RW!

Roll call: Bill Y., Bill S., Butch, Fred, Heather, Linda, Nate, Terry

It wouldn't be a trail run with Linda without the photo op
(L to R: Bill S., Bill Y., Butch, Linda, Nate, Terry, Heather, Fred)


  1. WAY TO GO YOU GUYS!!! Sounds like an amazing run - that's a great way to kick off the weekend. Wish I could have been there, but I don't think my giant jogging stroller would have fit on the trails (and my child would probably have ended up with whiplash from bouncing up and down those hills!).

  2. Is anyone going to attempt this one... curious to hear what it's like!

  3. Hi Jess! I was thinking of climbing aboard the crazy train but have decided to do the normal group run on Saturday instead and then possibly head out to Hartshorne Woods Spring Trail Run on Sunday (

    I think Charlie might be doing the towpath run.