Couch to 5K
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Week Nine Run One: The Hills! The Hills!

Good morning and a very happy Bank Holiday Monday to all my fellow C25Kers. No need to rush before work today so I can take my time and relax a bit as I write this!

It was my own fault really, I acknowledge that. You see, dearest reader, I decided to go a different way today; it's a similar route to one I've used a few times before, only it goes up a long, gradual steep hill. I chose this today, mainly to avoid the other direction. Being a Bank Holiday, and it being a major route, there will have been quite a few people/revellers about and on their way home; I wanted a quiet run. I've done this route before so I know I can do it. Only today I deviate slightly; instead of going up the main road, I opt to cut through a park. It too has a huuuuuuge steep hill, only it's long and straight and almost totally vertical; the road option is a bit bendy, levels out a bit and though while not great, isn't as bad.

For reasons inexplicable I choose the park. Why? I know not. Don't ask, for I don't know. It started off as normal, the day: the usual breakfast, the Fitmo Special, as it's come to be known, thanks to Mousey for the excellent name for it, after a little lie-in. (Getting up at 0401 as opposed to 0339; it is a Bank Holiday after all, doncha know?!) All good so far.*deep Russian accent* eeees no proooblyeeem. Warm-up walk goes well. Still all well and good.

It's important to note that upon commencing the warm-up walk, immediately Julie is with me. You and Julie, you and Julie.......... Wayhey! :D So, onward. Time to start running now. I'm already on my way up the hill. I should have just carried on straight up the hill know so well. I don't, I turn left, head to the park and tackle the big one. Well, what a mistake that was. Half way up the warning lights come on. The buzzers sound. Despite trying to maintain speed I feel myself slowing a bit. It's okay, it's a bloody steep one this, don't panic. Turn right here, you're nearly up it! Each bench I pass I want to collapse onto it, wheezing ungracefully. Time to turn right and I see I'd severely underestimated this damn thing. It opens out to a huuuuge slope up. I've come so far but my breathing is all over and this is a great big struggle. All I have to do is continue and eventually it levels and then goes downhill, but that's a way off yet; this really is insurmountable. I've made a catastrophic error and I know it. I've ran down this thing before, but never up it. Nevers.

I need to make a decision because if I try and carry on I'll just collapse onto the grass and weep; I doubt I'd stop weeping once started. A passing dog walker would likely ring for an ambulance and the special doctors. I throttle forward to provide momentum, bank the wings to the right, turn round and descend. The view is spectacular and shows just how far I've ascended but I can't go on; my legs felt heavier than they ever have before, heavier than a Tesco Extra with a fire station on top of it. I start to rapidly descend but watch my speed. I take many a glug of water down and already I feel myself getting annoyed. At what, I don't yet know: attempting that in the first place or not seeing it through. A mixture of both, I think. No time for that now though; I need to decide what to do. I'd already considered this possibility (always have a Plan B!) and I have two options. Well, three:

A: continue down the hill and go in the opposite direction on the flat.

B: exit the park and go up the hill on the road, carrying on the same route.

C: call it a day, go home, be miserable and get annoyed at myself.

I'm still running downhill now as I weigh the options up. The easiest option, C, is the easiest. Easy option is easy. But unthinkable. I don't think things are quite THAT bad. Yet. That's a no-go. For now. Option A: the flat. There would be a hill eventually but not right at the start of the bloody run! Option B, back up the hill, on the road. Utter stupidity.

Option B it is. The Brain Dialogue warning light illuminates as I programme the new route into the auto-pilot. "You foolish buffoon, what the hell are you thinking?! Stay on the flat!"

"But that's failing, surely?"

"No. Collapsing and waking up in hospital is failing. Taking the easier option, given how you feel and the time remaining, is not a failure."

"I'm going up the hill."

"FFS. Do what the hell you like. Auto-pilot on."

And on I go, up the hill. I feel a bit better now but it's still not easy. The annoyance grows. It's okay turning around now, in training, but if that were a race, I can hardly about-turn, can I?! But then, most races, unless some sort of endurance/adventure thing, wouldn't start you out on a sod-off gargantuan hill like that anyway. But there's nowt I can do about it now. Onward.

I actually get to the top easier than I thought I would; it's really not as severe as the other one. It's hard work, mind, but not quite that bad. Soon enough it's time to descend but sadly the huge hill has set the tone for the rest of the run and it's not easy. Descent done and onto the flat now. On I go. Onward. We reach twenty-six minutes,eventually, and I've settled a bit but this is definitely an 'off-run'. I wonder why. Mondays tend to be and I firmly believe it's a weekend of inactivity that's responsible; it's always a struggle getting back into it. Perhaps I should have done the Parkrun after all.

You see, my dear reader (thank you for sticking with it!) I should have listened to my body. On Saturday afternoon/evening when I returned for the cinema, the rain was pouring and my body was craving a little run. I was going to go for an easy thirteen minute run, but decided to err on the side of caution and not do so. The same yesterday morning: it wasn't that I thought I should go for a run: more my body was yearning for it. I ignored it. I think, looking back now, it was the body's way of keeping a bit of activity ticking over. Ah well, lesson learnt.

Finally, the thirty minutes are up. I wouldn't say I'd settled into it, but things aren't as bad as they were at the start and I'm glad I didn't give up. Part of me feels I'd failed by not continuing up the hill, but I didn't stop and managed the full thirty minutes. I actually continued for a further three; partly because I (surprisingly) had a bit of energy left (!) and because I wanted to 'make up' for my ineffectual hill ability earlier. 33 minutes up I go to walking, with jelly legs and very short of breath.

That was really tough; the toughest yet, I'd say. On Wednesday I won't tackle a hill straight-off like that! I ran for the full 30 minutes and feel happy about that. It's easy to concentrate on the negatives but there are plenty of positives too. I normally tell anyone here who has a 'bad' run or struggles that they did well, yet here I am looking at the downsides myself. *slaps wrist* I did well, all things considered, but I tell you one thing (I'm addressing that bloody great hill here) I'm coming back for you. I will, *****WILL***** get up that thing. It might not be next week, or the week after and it certainly won't be Wednesday, but I am getting up it at some stage. If it's the last thing I do. Which in all possibility, it might be! :D

Lessons learnt today:

Leave the huge hills until sufficiently warmed-up. And not on a Monday morning.

If one's body is craving and yearning a short run on a rest day, do it. Not just the brain thinking a run may be a good idea, but a physical need for it. It's craving it for a reason. An easy, thirteen minute run might have avoided that calamity today.

Things are never as bad as they seem at the time. Sure, it wasn't great,but not a disaster by any means. Part of me feels like a BIG TOOL (sorry, I really couldn't help it! :D ) for not pushing on up the hill, but I did manage the other hill, so it's not quite so bad.

Even after a setback, success is possible: keep running, always!

So, onward to W9R2. Today was very tough but it's complete now. It wasn't a Did Not Finish (DNF) but perhaps a Could Do Better (CDB) but more likely a case of Idiotic Route Planning. (IRP) W9R1 complete and did I ever earn that delicious, delicious, tasty, refreshing CRM afterwards!

Good luck to you all out running today. Good luck to my fellow Niners: ONWARD! It looks like a hot one today, at least here, anyway; I did bemoan the lack of rain to myself this morning. If you're resting or injured, rest easy. But as ever, happy running, always. :-)

36 Replies

THERE you are!

You're fine (no injury - maybe your pride), shush up whining (who could expect to run up Yorkshire Everest from a standing start on a Bank Holiday Monday at 4.30 IN THE MORNING) and have yourself a really nice day off work ready to go again on the penultimate outing next time!

Cool Runnings for you M_Y :-)

(PS. GREAT write-up - aGain - thanks for the read)


Thank you, BP. I needed that, I think, to be told to shush up and stop whining! My apologies for coming across as feeling sorry for myself. It wasn't bad at all really, all things considered. and I actually quite good now and truly invigorated, though that could be the Radox bath! I'll pick my route better next time out and again, thank you. :-) Cool runnings, always!


There we go! All sorted! You did GOOD! You feel GOOD! All is well!!!

Since starting this programme i've been trying to work out how to fit a bath in the bathroom (which is an untrue description of a room that houses a shower only). I think i'll need something like a tank that you might see someone in a magic show dangling inside trying to escape from! All you people with horizontal sit-on-the-floor baths are LUCKY ...

Radox, breakfast, a power nap, a day off ..... you'll be bursting to get your lovely laces tied up again WAY before Wednesday comes around i bet!!!

I didn't mean to sound bossy (it comes naturally to me, have to curb it manually, sorry!) but you haven't taken offence so that's good!

Cool Runnings :-)


Thanks, BP! And no, you didn't come across as bossy at all: I think I needed the directness! In no way did you cause offence; the opposite is true; you made me smile! Not that I was miserable or anything, mind! :D

Hmmmm, your bath conundrum does sound tricky, but an upright magic show bath may not be a bad idea at all, you know. With a ledge built-in so you can sit/lean back. Or maybe a square/L-shaped sit-down bath thing. Bathroom design and planning is not my area of expertise, I'm afraid but I do wish you all the best with it. I'm sure there is a solution to it somewhere!

Nap time now; cool runnings and happy bathroom planning!


Speak soon ha ha ha ... maybe just a really good seal on the shower door and shoop shoop dive over the top!!! ha ha ...

yep, Cool Runnings (the bath taps, for example!!!) :-)


If you ever seriously want to swap for a bath, but can't change the room itself, google Japanese bathtub. They are deep, but square. Total immersion, but no stretching out.


Hello Nilzed!

Thanks for that TopTip - i just had a Google and was aMazed at the variety and beauty of some of those Japanese tubs! I'm thinking to build a room esPECially to put one in now, never mind the dull old shower! Alternatively, i also found The Original Dutchtub by Weltevree - this wouldn't even need a room - it could just go outside somewhere, perhaps not right at the front door and maybe invest in an outside tap ..... but hmmmm the possibilities are seemingly endless :-)


Oh dear M_Y. I do think that you are being a bit hard on yourself. I've found that as distances get longer, it is more difficult to extend the routes without including upward slopes, but nothing comparable to the Ben Nevis on yours. If I'm having a tough time, I merely carry on at an achievable pace, even if that is slower than walking. After all, as you said, if it had been a race, with set route, you couldn't choose your own diversions. I haven't had the problem of an inactive weekend as my double rest days take place midweek between sessions of other sports. Anyway, look on the bright side - W9R2 beckons without any more IRP!


Thank you, Dytham. :-) I feel more positive about it now after a Radox bath and a bit of a lie-down; I'll go the whole way shortly and have a mini-nap! You are, of course, quite right: pacing needs to be better, I think, although I did slow considerably near the top of of the hill but that was more through necessity than choice! Wednesday will be far better and as you say, without any IRP! :D

Thanks once more and good luck for your W9R2!


Firstly wow you get up that early to do your run!!! Yes I only pick out the interesting bits in what I read(that is why I often get the wrong day/date for meetings lol!)..But get up...oops moving on.I know it's disappointing but reading your account it sounds like you did enjoy most of it and you must have a sense of achievement......nearly a graduate and running hills!! I have considered moving to Holland in order to pursue my running career but OH might not want to leave home,garden and family ( in that order)..enjoy your well earned rest!


LOL, I really should do shorter posts; I do go on a bit! Yes, I realise it might seem a bit mad getting up at that time on my day off, but it keeps me in routine nicely and I do enjoy running so early in the morning when it's (largely!) nice and quiet out. I did enjoy it really, looking back at it now and I'm glad I did it. Every run is a lesson. :-)

Moving to Holland isn't a bad idea really, all things considered, given how nice and flat it is. Sadly, I wouldn't be able to resist the close proximity of all the delicious, tasty Edam, so it may be counter productive for me!

Thank you, Pot58; good luck for your next run. :-)


Congratulations. You did it.

Having visited sheffield a number of times, as my brother started the southern invasion north and moved there years ago I am amazed at your stamina. Flat bits! These surely do not exist and are in fact slow long drawn out inclines? That hill has become your nemesis and like with mine we will defeat them (although I am sure my long drawn out incline would be an easy task for you).

Enjoy the rest of your day.


Thanks Spoonie. LOL, there are a few flat bits here but, as you accurately observed, they all lead to a hill or incline of some description or other, no matter what direction you go in. There's always one (usually more) sat waiting and often when planning a running route it's not a case of avoiding them but trying to pick the less severe, and timing it so that you don't hit it first off or last thing! There is another hill that I could have taken to reach the same sort of area but that is even more vicious, despite it being a bit of a shorter distance. I'm not tackling that for some time yet. We will defeat our respective nemesis; it may take a while, but we will do it.

Thanks again; definitely naptime now!


Aw Miles, I do sympathise with the hills. Ive been racking my brains trying to plan routes that don't finish with a hill, they are so daunting when youre exhausted and then you see a big hill looming ....

You did it Miles, you finished the run, job done ! :-)

Enjoy your nap , you've certainly earned it ! :-) xx


Hi Poppy! :-) I woke up briefly to have something to eat (suddenly woke up starving!) but now may lie down a bit longer, or watch something. Yes, they really are daunting and they're always either at the start of a run or right at the end too! And thank you; the run is finished and that's what matters! :-) xx


Hi Miles, Ive got to ask ! - Whats on the menu today at Chez Yonder fine eating emporium ? :-) xxx


Well just now it was two banana Weetabix, eaten in super-quick time, and a couple of spoons of peanut butter afterwards. Later on I'll be having salmon. Steamed, I think. There was a recipe in the last edition of...............Running Fitness, I think it was, with lots of green veg, bechamel sauce and lasagne sheets. I made it and it's delicious; steam the veg, boil the sheets, make the sauce, mix the veg into the sauce then layer the thing up on the plate. I'm thinking of making that today but with the addition of salmon. Mmmmmmm. xx


Sounds fab ! :-) xxx


If that's what I have, I'll report back! :-) In this month's Runner's World, they advertise the fact that they have a new/updated nutrition guide bookazine out, with, undoubtedly, delicious recipes in there, so I'll be heading along to WH Smith for a copy of that when I can! xxx


M_Y: i have been known to run, or walk, in loops around some sections of my usual routes in order that i can force the next run onto the flat and the subsequent hill can be walked up. But it sounds like that system would take a teamof planners in your area!


LOL, Nilzed, it's a good system, is that, but round here I'd be looping for quite some time and people would wonder whether I'd lost the plot! A team of planners and a very complex set of route instructions for the run would be required! :D


M_Y what are you doing?? I'll tell you what you're doing, you're doing a Juicyju and performing an heroic feat of running and then worrying about being a failure!! What an awesome run, mountains and all. You should be feeling amazing about yourself (wobbly legged maybe but still amazing) Now take it easy. You only have 2 runs left to graduation so you mustn't get injured. You don't want to stand Julie up do you!

Well done m'dear, no one but you would have even contemplated that mountain at the start of a run, now get some rest!!


Yes, AM! Right away, AM! :D You are right though; I did think to myself earlier that I was having a JuJu moment. It really is so easy to focus on what doesn't go right, than to concentrate on what did go right. I'll get that bloody hill one day, but for now, rest! I, as you say, cannot afford to get injured - or worse yet, stand up Julie and Laura! I had to chuckle that Julie was the first song on!

Rest, more rest!


Well done Miles for getting up and going running.

I am in an area with little or no Internet so will try to be brief.

Did not want to go out today in fact could of quite easily given up running last night. I had no desire to run again. Maybe it's because I am on holiday or the fact of not being comfortable with the area to run, away from familiar surroundings or the 2 hour clff climb I did yesterday which has had a impact on my right knee (I thought you said this would be brief!!! )

Any how. Out at 5.30. Warm up walk to the cliff top round the car park and caravan park a couple of times legs heavy, knee giving me jip but managed 30 min non stop. Not the fastest and not sure how far I ran but thats w9 r1 done.

Thank you for your support.

If it wasn't for you, runner 56, treemouse and others I would not have gone.

Will try to stay in touch this week with the dodgy internet connection

All the best for the week ahead


Redskins, sir, nice to see you! Hope your holiday is going well! How nice of you to attempt the wonky Internet connection to let us know how it went for you today: nice to see you and hear how it went! :-)

Yes, a combination of those things, I think, might have contributed from your wanting to have a rest from running, especially being in an area you don't know. After a two-hour cliff-climb. And a knee injury. Given that lot, you did brilliantly, especially so getting up at the time you did! WELL DONE! You did the thirty minutes and you've done W9R1: two more runs left! Just two then we graduate!

Likewise, thank you for your support too. Not sure how I'd have got this far without your good self, our other Niners and all the other fine folk here to spur me on! Glad we've helped you out this morning; just two more to do then there's a shiny graduation bade with your name on it!

Enjoy your holiday and for goodness sake try not to injure anything else: you've got a graduation to do! :-)


you did brilliantly...hills are HARD, and its good to slow down if you need to. I have a big one near me, and our park run is a 120 metre or so climb...but its such a great feeling to get quicker at it and actually make it to the top... I dont think it was an IRP, more of an FBP ( full body punishment), which is good for your training :)


JuJu! Thank you; FBP sums it up nicely - I certainly feel more 'worked-out' than I have on previous runs! There was some PTBPTB going on at one point, I forgot to mention in my post! :-)


MY, I am full of admiration. Living, as I do, on the edge of the Vale of York all my local runs are flat. I think I would surely die if I had to tackle your hill!

But hey, you completed the run and did not take the easy way out . Hills are excellent training for strength and stamina so good on you I say.

So close to graduation now!


Thank you, Ully! :-) I will get that hill one day! Ah yes, a very flat area in which you live, but a fantastic and beautiful one too. I do like York. I think some areas haven't got any hills because I've got them all. All of them! Two more runs left now; I'll save the hill heroics for another time and just concentrate on getting through graduation unscathed!


I was just browsing on Linked in, and someone posted a link to this on 'Running, I love it' and I thought of you....!!

1 like

Thank you for that, JuJu, that's a very interesting read. I've bookmarked it!


I just posted something about hills before reading this article. Thanks for sharing it :)


Well done M_Y on not taking option C which would have you in a state of depression now....Think of the benefits of having to push that bit harder this morning, flat runs will feel so easy now! Started week 8 this morning, still bit sad I am not a niner :(


Oh definitely! I'd have probably gone out a bit later to try again! How did W8R1 go? And don't be sad, we're all part of Club C25K! :-)


Hills are just hard ! But if you live in a hilly area they just have to be done...but like everything ...slow and sure. The hilll you can't do today will be one you CAN do in 2-3 months time, and if it was easy everyone would do it !! We are the greatest...


Great write up. For the avoidance of doubt, I don't do hills (yet)... I am fortunate enough to live close to towpaths which are beautifully FLAT... Good for you in tackling those hills - that's a whole new level of fun(!) to add to the C25K mix... You always have Julie though... :)


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