Rocky Road

This past week over Easter, I made my yearly trek to my sister’s house in Philadelphia. 

I’m always convinced I come back a few pounds lighter as my sister is a serious runner (she’s training for a 10 mile run now) and eats extremely well.  While she has snacks in the house when we visit, I rarely, if ever, see her having anything “bad.” 

We decided on a run Saturday morning at 9 AM.  She’s been training along Kelly Drive, which is 8.5 miles around and flat.  That was my choice.  My son, on the other hand, wanted to go to the woods, which was our other option.  I said, “isn’t that hilly?”  I mean, it IS Philadelphia, which next to Cleveland is home to some major mountains in their parks, not just hills!  My sister replied, “there’s only a small hill at the beginning.”  Hmmm, I wasn’t so sure, but went along with the other two.

When we arrived, there were a couple of groups of Team in Trainings, so they were running in packs basically.  My sister and son started at the beginning (the slightly hilly part, you will recall) and began running – my sister looked back and said “are you coming?”  I replied that I needed to do about a two minute walk to warm up; after all, I knew I couldn’t keep up with either of them and I could already feel the darn hill.

I gave it a bit more than two minutes and was STILL climbing uphill.  What the hell?  I KNEW there were hills.  I live in Cleveland where the land is nice and flat almost everywhere you go.  I don’t do inclines when I run.  After starting to feel like a little like a loser as I watched everyone either running towards me or passing me, I gave it a shot. 

Here’s the other huge difference, in Cleveland we have paved walking/running/riding trails.  Nice and smooth.  I’m not dodging rocks and boulders – apparently, in Philadelphia that’s fun, I don’t know.  As I begin to run, I’m having to watch my feet because quite seriously, there are rocks that are gigantic on the trail that I could easily break an ankle over.  Now I’m climbing uphill and dodging rocks – in what context is this fun?  I finally stopped and decided to walk to wherever this hill started and run back. 

I turned around at a halfway point (about a mile) and ran back – again, dodging boulders, it seemed.  The run back wasn’t bad but I still felt as if I was going uphill rather than coming downhill.  I’m pretty convinced we were on the side of a mountain. 

Once at the bottom, I stretched for a bit and waited for my sister and son – I knew they’d take longer – they wanted to cover some distance.  As  I was sitting there, minding my own business and listening to my Ipod, an elderly woman asked if I was okay.  Talk about adding insult to injury!  I knew I didn’t look that bad.  I replied I was waiting for other people and yes, thank you, I was fine. 

My sister completed five miles and came back first.  My son finished seven miles and looked like he had sprinted the whole thing.  While waiting for my son, my sister says to me, “well, it was more uphill than I remembered, sorry about that.  I forgot about the rocks too.”  Hmmm yes.  She had a longer run scheduled Sunday morning with her running partner at 7 AM – I opted to stay at home, although they were going to run along the flat Kelly Drive. 

Once we got ready to drive back yesterday, my son looked at me and said “my calves are killing me.”  “Mine too!” I said.  I’m pretty sure it was that uphill run we did, although most of Philadelphia is pretty hilly and everywhere we went we were walking uphill. 

This morning, my last day off, I was at the gym at 9 AM and on the treadmill.  My calves were screaming for mercy, but I kept running on my nice, flat treadmill.  My calves and butt will thank me for it eventually. 

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