Today I ran a course that I used to run in high school all the time. I chose it because it is super-hilly, and I want to take advantage of having hills available to me while I am in Cincinnati for the holiday weekend. I cannot count the number of times that I have run the "Bethesda Loop" (so named because it passes by the Bethesda Hospital on Montgomery Road) in the past 12 years. I remember running it with the team the summer before my freshman year in high school. I remember struggling to keep up on the long up-hill across from the hospital. I remember that on super-hot days we would jump through the fountain on the corner of Montgomery and Pfieffer. I remember running the course when there was snow packed on the ground. I remember running the course with teammates, I remember running the course with my sister, I remember running the course alone. Because I have run it so many times, it serves as a constant to how my body reacts to the run. I often use it as a benchmark to test my fitness, and over the years there have been times when I couldn't make it up all of the hills without walking and times when the course flew by easily.
Due to my dearth of hills in Indianapolis and my need to train on hills for the Boston Marathon, I wanted to see how this course felt today to get a baseline. I assessed how I felt throughout the run while running up various hills and came to the conclusion that my current lack of hills makes these hills seem bigger, but my consistent training over the past months actually compensated for it surprisingly well. I was pleased that, even though I struggled a little with the hills, I recovered quickly on the flats and the downhills and the run, overall, was pretty good. I miss these courses and, although I never thought I would say this, I miss the change in terrain and the challenge that hills bring. I am excited to go to Sharon Woods tomorrow for some more reminiscing on familiar courses and some more good hills.