Hills, that is.
Seeing as the half marathon I ran last weekend was in Agoura Hills, you'd think I would have figured out there might be a few of those dreaded inclines. But in spite of the fears voiced by my running pal ("Have you looked at the topography of this course?!!") I managed to maintain my blissful ignorance. In fact, I naively brushed the Cassandra-like predictions aside, replacing them with this thought: "They wouldn't plan a race with that many hills. They want us to like it. And anyway, I can handle a few."
Who did I think the ubiquitous "they" were? And why did I have so much faith in their course-planning benevolence?
The Pacific Coast Half Marathon was a killer. KILLER. (And I typed those capital letters really slowly and with emphasis, as if you could hear the click. click.) At about mile 10, when I expected/prayed/hoped/begged for the hills to end--and they didn't--I wanted to sit by the side of the road, put my head in my hands and cry a few fat teardrops.
I'm proud to say that I didn't. I am also very proud to have finished this race. It was my second half marathon (the first being run in a Michigan winter--18 degrees, blizzard and wind). It looks like I need to run a third, just so I can find a course that makes me happy. (Any suggestions?) But other than the horrible hills, it really was a perfect race. I got lots of sleep, I had no gastro-intestinal issues (hallelujah for that), the weather was nearly perfect, and the course was quite beautiful. And on top of all of that, I got to run the entire race with my friends.
If it weren't for those *&%@# hills. Grrrr.
You can read my race report (and see a couple of photos) at my website if you want more details.
Oh, and FYI: I live in flat land, so perhaps my view is a little skewed. I don't really run hills; it's difficult to find one even to train on.