Pain as a group effort

I tried to get the best screen capture off of Google Maps that could of this .157 mile stretch of hill quaintly named Bonnie Leslie Avenue in Bellevue, KY.

For sheer incline nothing could do it justice.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I run with two guys I met during our marathon training group in January. Our little running sessions usually begin with them ribbing me for being late (hey it’s damn hard to get out of bed and motivate by 11 when you don’t get home from work until 1 and can’t fall asleep until 2:30 or so!). After I am adequately shamed we pick our poison.

Well, I should more accurately state that they pick our poison. I’m a “you decide what the run will be most days and I’ll die trying to do it,” type of guy. (Though after Tuesday’s little hill run up Bonnie Leslie, I did suggest a nice, flat distance out and back like we did last Thursday for this Thursday.)

Our fearless pace setter and pack leader had no idea where we were going, other than we were going to do some hill repeats Tuesday. That’s when he came across Bonnie Leslie as he rounded a blind corner. Like I stated earlier, hard to really measure Bonnie’s incline, but she was a bitch.

I ran a lot of hills, but for pure steepness Bonnie Leslie wins the prize. The guy in the front set a goal of five repeats up and down the hill. Round one had my lungs crawling up my throat trying to escape. There was some coaching and you can do its between bouts of self-inflicted asphyxiation between the three of us.

After three uphills (three and a half for our run leader) the guy who picked the hill was ready to call it a day. So, was the other guy and so was I.

“I want to at least do four,” I found myself saying.

So, up the hill the three of us went for one more round with burning upper and lower leg muscles and lungs that just wanted to explode.

The episode was indicative of running in a group. We share the pain and where one person’s will may lag, someone else in the group is there to push everyone a little further, a little harder. Today was my day to say “hey, let’s go through a little more pain.” (Of course I’m the one who ended up lagging a little behind on the run back to the starting point too. It figures.)

Anyway, I’m finding myself not just getting back into running, but falling back in love with it too, which is funny because besides all that I just wrote, I really didn’t want to go out in the misty weather and mid-30s temperatures today to run and feel the pain at all when I woke up and faced the idea of an outdoor run alone.

Oh, and Bonnie Leslie Ave., you have a great name, but that is about all.


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