Monday, January 9, 2012

I heart hills

Ah, hills. Ever since I started this whole running-for-enjoyment thing, I've noticed something: Hills are not so popular with other runners.

But hills are important! And necessary! A good hill will suck the wind right out of your puny little lungs, and force battery acid through your quads and calves. You might even shed a tear. Never will complete and utter misery feel so wonderful.

During my training for last fall's marathon, I spent a lot of time running long in the famous hills of Newton, Massachusetts (think Heartbreak and thereabouts). It was there that I learned to love steady, unrelenting inclines.

No doubt part of this came from a sense of humility I get from running what I see as hallowed ground—the Boston Marathon route. But even now, months later, I find myself adding hills to my regular runs just for "fun." Lest you think I'm nuts, trust me; when it comes to fun, it's all relative.

So, I've decided that once a month, I will feature a hill in the greater Boston area that I've endured and conquered, and rate it using my own proprietary misery meter (with 1 being a piece o' cake and 5 being full-out suffering).

Hill #1: Common Street, on the Watertown/Belmont line [map]

Start at the intersection of Common and Orchard streets in Watertown, and head northeast toward Belmont Street.

This section is a deceptively difficult four-tenths of a mile. There's a brief reprieve around 0.2 miles, which is little more than a cruel joke—you're only halfway!

If you're feeling ambitious, turn around when you reach Belmont Street and run this hill in the opposite direction; mere mortals, you may wish to continue one block to Trapelo Road, bang a left, and pay a visit to the Starbucks near the corner.

V's Misery Rating: 2 (Translation: "Oh, quit your whining.")

Have a recommendation for a killer hill? I'm your guinea pig. Let me know in the comments!