“Let me know how you get on. I think you’ll enjoy it. Well… enjoy it to a point…”
These were the words that appeared in a text message the day before my first venture up the mountains for a hill session. Between that text, CR’s advise to be cautious and the lad’s all telling me to take start off at not much more than a jog pace I was a tad freaked by what lay ahead.
75 seconds hard up, 45 seconds jog back down. This was to be repeated until we reached the summit, which should take around 16 repeats. Having never trained on this route before every turn was a mystery and I had no idea which turn would be the last. When we ended up finishing after 14 reps I was fairly surprised that that was it.
These hills aren’t so bad… I could have done more… Did I hold back a little more than was necessary?
Last week we hit the same mountains again. This time the workout was 1 minute hard up, 1 minute jog recovery down, repeat until the top was reached. As we were doing 15 seconds less on each rep, with 15 seconds longer on each recovery, the idea was work harder. By the time the 13th repeat was finished I had reached the point where any enjoyment was out the window. No progress was being made. The recovery ate into the distance we were making up on each effort, and the top was nowhere near. The higher we got the darker it became. The blue sky started to disappear and a fog started to descend. The last time I was caught off guard by finishing two reps before I thought we would. That was not going to happen again. This time I was jogging down preparing to take on my 18th minute. Where the hell was the top?! There was no way I was going past 20, even if that meant stopping before the top.
Jogging back down to the cars afterwards one of the lads described the session as the toughest, single session he’d ever done. I was not about to disagree with that. As we passed a large group of hikers making their way up the mountain with walking sticks and the like I wanted to stop and tell them what we had just done… I’m sure they’d have appreciated it.