I had access to beautiful trails, covered in pine needles. Quiet, restful places that ran alongside creeks, with gentle slopes and trails that turned and curved through beautiful forests.
I'm glad that that's where I got my start as a runner, because I'll tell you what, if I had started running after I'd moved to Tennessee? Well, that may have changed my entire disposition. We can call them "hills" or we can call them mountains, but I've run both here in Tennessee and have learned to love this gorgeous hilly country.
And I've learned that they can make me a stronger, faster runner.
The few times I did run hills, which were usually sand dunes, they KILLED ME. I felt like my lungs would explode and my legs would give out from underneath me and I WOULD DIE.
The route on the left is my typical trail run. In all it's glorious 324 feet of elevation changes. It's wonderful climbs, it's rocky outcrops, it's creek crossings, and jumps, and hills!
Even my typical route with my running club has 187 feet of elevation change - and that's our "flat" route. Yeah, you don't want to see the one we call "hilly." Every week, we put in our mileage and approach that final climb, that last bit of hill that brings us to glorious, frothy glory. Ok, there's beer waiting and that's the motivation. But we brace ourselves and SPRINT up that hill, like Rocky climbing the infamous steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, reaching it's summit and throwing our hands in the air! VICTORY! RAAAARGH!!!!
Immediately followed by bent over, hands on knees, heavy panting. Hell, even Rory is glad to stop and grab a drink. The fro-yo place keeps a water bowl out front for dogs and it's become one of Rory's favorite places.
I've learned to love these Tennessee hills and while I appreciate my flat courses, I look forward to the ups and downs of my runs and how they challenge me and help me reach my goals. Plus, they'll help me be better prepared for trailrunning and my future ultramarathons and my half marathon next spring in the Grand Tetons!