Hill starts full throttle

Ok, what is it about running up hills I like?

Could it be the almost immediate fast, pumping heart beat, the bouncing up on your toes while lifting your knees as hard as you can, or the fact the top of your thighs and your bum muscles are screaming ‘for the love of god, what are you doing?’ as you focus on the hill brow and push on – and on?

Sounds like a recipe for Fresh Hell al Feugo but somehow it’s fun – even in the rain of a mizzly Manchester Autumn day.

Today is Harry Day so we meet up near the hills by opposite Cholton Water Park. There are three in a row of varying heights and gradients. Put there, no doubt, for sad people like me.

Oh and we took Mr Medicine Ball with us for fun so in between runs I’m doing sets of lunges and squats with the medicine ball (it has handles in it – 4kg).

1. Jog down hill – run hell for leather up hill x 3

2. Medicine ball on floor – hold handles and get into press up position. Left one knee to the ball, then the other. Repeat x10 each knee

3. Jog down next hill, run up following slope and down the hill after that. Then run back.

4. Do squats, holding medicine ball just in front of chest.

5. Repeat 3.

6. Do lunges. As you lunge right down swing medicine ball to your left and then to your right, twisting at the waist – that’s a balance tester! Repeat x10 each leg.

7. Run down the hill in 1 and then down to the sequence in 3. In effect running up one long hill, along and then down, up and down two short hills.

Then run back to the top of brow of hill one, where the medicine ball is.

Harry’s always complimenting me on my acceleration to the top of hills. This is my desperation to get there as fast as possible.

8. Press up position again but this time lifting leg out to the side, bit like a frog doing a  kick. Repeat x 10 each side.

9. Repeat 7.

10. Hold medicine ball with left hand and dip into a lunge with left leg forward, though not too deep. Lift medicine ball up in an arc over your head, collect handle with right hand and complete arc, swinging down to right and standup. Swap legs and repeat.

Final hill run. Start at the bottom of hill run, get to the top, feel your bum on fire, jog on, down the next hill and feel your muscles wobble all over the place. Then up, then down, then find yourself running as hard as your legs will take you up hill yet again while someone in the blurry distance of exhaustion, but is actually on your left, shouts ‘awesome’ at you.

Try not to repeat vomiting episode from a couple of Sundays ago.

Cool down jog while Harry tells you all about muscle fatigue and something about your neurotransmitters not firing so well because they are tired too, but contrary to what you think you can run down hill, so don’t worry.

And all that took just an hour. I’m still a bit all over the place, thinking about yesterday’s news and Theresa’s kidney cancer, but running this morning did give me a complete break from thinking about her illness and this general feeling of sorrow.

This was my first hill running session and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it’s the mood I’m in that makes it ideal today, but I’m hopping it’s going to be as much fun in the future.


Irony on a beautiful day for running

Bloody gorgeous out there today, isn’t it?

Bridge in Didsbury

Bridge on run through Disbury water park

How Autumn should be. Bright blue sky, nippy air, mists rising off the river as it gushes along at a rate of knots. Just lovely.

And so there I am at 7.30am running along trying to digest some stunning news. Bad news.

I found out this morning, as I picked up my messages on getting up, that one of my best friends from college has had a tumour removed from her kidney and is deep into chemo.

Shocking news, and for all sorts of reasons. I should explain I live a few hundred miles from my home town so I see my college friends rarely and so of course I don’t always keep up with the home-town news, especially when it’s news no one wants to talk about.

This is not about me, this is about Theresa but, of course, I can’t help but contemplate my own mortality. It’s human nature. Having one of you contemporaries hit by a potentially fatal disease can only make you contemplate your own health. Which, of course, is great where it matters. I don’t even get colds.

My first thought was to get out and run. Somehow digesting bad news is easier when you’re running. Possibly because you have to think about where you’re going as much as what’s troubling you.

About a mile in I chewed over the unfairness of it, but life doesn’t do ‘fair’ does it. We just have to deal with the hands fate deals us as best we can. Theresa is a strong, robust woman with a big sense of humour, I can’t imagine her crumbling in the face of adversity. She’s got three teenage boys for a start, she’s well versed in handling testing times.

As I’m running into the third mile I help but admire the beauty of the day though. After a week of grey skies and mizzle it seems ironic that the sun should shine through the darkest news.

And my mile four, when I was nearly home I’d come to the conclusion that while fretting wouldn’t help Theresa, going to see her would only be a good thing and how easy it is to get caught up in the petty dramas of daily life and forget the big, important stuff.

Now is it, isn’t it? Be glad for all you have and enjoy life for what it is. Beautiful.