Monday, January 24, 2011

"They call it: 'the hill fom hell' "

Let's talk hills for a moment...

I have been running around my neighborhood, East Talpiot, Jerusalem, for 2 weeks now. I was aware of the hills before moving here because my sister used to live here, but let me try to explain to you what a typical run is like.

Upon exiting my apartment complex I have the choice to either go left, "down the hill" or right, "up the hill." Today I chose left, downhill, for the first time. I was hoping that if I started off downhill then I would be able to finish my run uphill. I wanted this option because I am used to finishing my run with a 8-8:30 downhill decent as the sole way to get back to my apartment. I would rather not spend the last 10 minutes of my run exherting so little energy, since this is when my body has the potential to be using up the most energy. Anyway, after about 3 minutes of a steady decline today I approached a rotary and stayed to the left. This wasn't the street I thought I would end up on but I figured that I'd realize where I was eventually. Oh dear, and the uphill battle began.

Let me just tell you, I have never run up such large hills before in my life. These things put heartbreak hill to shame, both in degree of slope and ultimate length.

I cannot find a topographic map of the area, so all I know is that Jerusalem is at an average height of between 750-850m above sea level. Without numbers though, I can tell that when I am running uphill consistently for half my run, it is a large incline. There are times when the slope is definitely manageable, but there are also times when I feel like I might as well be running backwards the hill is so steep.

I have been researching online and comparing running on flat ground and running on hills so that I am better equipped to tailor my training schedule for the half marathon as needed. For example, if I am supposed to run 7 miles one day should I actually still run 7 miles even though it will take me much more time and energy because of the hills. I found a website that labeled hills into three categories: short, medium, and long. Short hills were those that take up to 30 seconds to run, medium hills take 30-90 seconds and the long hills take up to 3 minutes to run. So, I asked myself out loud, "If a long hill is one that takes up to 3 minutes to complete, what the hell are the hills that I run categorized as? One hill today took me 14 minutes to reach the top!" My roommate answered, "They call it 'the hill from hell'".

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