The Connection Runners + [weather]

Holy Hills, Batman!

À pied: French for "on foot."

Should be French for "the Fenton Bastille Day 15k entices your entry with its promises of post-race French Laundry baguettes and beer but ultimately becomes a unique race in which rolling hills combine with hot hot heat and sun to decidedly test one's 'can-I-really-do-this' mentality."

Turns out out that the French preferred the former definition, and the phrase now adorns the spiced cider-colored finisher's t-shirt that I'm rocking today while I recover from this 9.3 mile race.

Though it should go without saying at this point, the race was one of the hardest I've completed recently. I've only reached 6.3 miles in terms of long runs since marathon training last fall (and that was without monstrous hills), doing the 15k was a bit more than I was maybe ready for. Still, I figured it was only three more miles, and so I signed up to run with friends Liz and Matt.

The entire course was apparently mapped out by Satan, as it wound through various back roads in Genesse county, all of which were intermittently hilly and without reprieve. "Surely we've run almost four miles," I thought to myself just before taking in the sight of the two-mile marker sign with same reaction one has when they drink expired milk.

Sweating, grunting, and getting passed by runners who live by the "walk/run" motto, I was throughly disgusted and demoralized when I hit the 10k water station. Still, I plugged along and soon enough, I reached the Notorious D.H.R. (denton hill road) at mile eight. The road exposes its victims to a hill that runs nearly six-tenths of a mile at a 9 percent incline.

The incline of that hill will haunt my dreams forever.

I told myself I'd run the hill until I felt near death, and I managed to climb, oh, perhaps a third of the way up it before walking the rest. At least I wasn't the only one.

Luckily, the rest of the race was mostly downhill and aided by an earlier intake of Jet Blackberry GU, so I managed 9-odd minute pace until I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:38:12, 10:34/mile. I was looking to hit at least 10's, so the 10:34 was a bit disheartening despite the hilly nature of the course.

Regardless of my finish time, I was extremely happy to be done. My friends also did great - Matt took third in his age-division and Liz came in way under her goal time of two hours. Though tough, the Bastille run was an excellent warmup for Crim 10-miler, our next race on the docket.

Bloody toes + sweaty bodies = a magnificent race day.

Today's Point Two: An unconventional post-race recovery drink: cans of Miller Lite consumed on a boat floating under the sun. The hops really help heal the soreness in the quads even better than the R.I.C.E. method. Who knew?