On Tuesday I was told to stop smiling. So naturally I couldn’t help but grin bigger.
I was running up and down hills and yet there was a smile on my face. As someone often told to do opposite, to look happy and just smile (something no one should ever tell a woman), that I was being told, albeit jokingly, to stop looking like I was enjoying one of my toughest workouts summarizes how much I do love running.
After leaving work Tuesday afternoon, I jetted off to Georgetown to teach an hour-long spin class at the university’s gym. As the warm-up to the evening’s hill workout, I jumped, climbed and peddled through the class with an enthusiastic bunch, including one woman who called me a “4′ 11″ Mighty Mouse” that has been attending my classes to be whipped into shape for her beach wedding next month. Post-class, I was off again, this time to Fleet Feet for an hour literally spent running up and down one of the city’s most infamous hills: Calvert.
The Tuesday plan: Hill Repeats, 3-4 times
– 2 forward (fast as you can)
– 1 backward (reach and pull behind you)
Despite running on less than fresh legs in temperatures that still hovered over 80 degrees at 7 PM, I felt revved up and eager to conquer the hill. Again and again. The finish of the Marine Corps Marathon includes a tough climb up towards Iwo Jima, so I’m relying on these biweekly hill workouts to power me upwards in the last mile of the race course. Having run the Calvert Hill during the Rock N’ Roll earlier this year, I know how tough it can be to run it up once. Multiple that experience times 11 and you finish with shaky legs, a very hungry stomach and a feeling of accomplishment unmatched from anything else in the week.
But what makes the accomplishment feel even better is knowing that I did not do it alone. While I have only with the Fleet Feet crew for about a month, the camaraderie and spirit of the group is incredible. The energy the members bring to each workout makes it hard not to smile. Or stop smiling. They keep me accountable and also entertained. Even if I’m one of the faster and youngest runners, I still have plenty of motivation to return each week to accrue miles, run around in circles and speed up and down what feels like mountains.