I've been recovering from this for the last two days, and brooding. I did all the right things. I ate lightly. I was hydrated. I gave myself permission to walk because I hadn't run for two weeks (manic business trip abroad). I went to check out a new route for fun. And what happened? I was ambushed by a monster hill!
I'm in Derbyshire where there is a fantastic network of ex-railway tracks converted into cycle/walking trails. Plenty of parking, open countryside, beautiful views, no cars, and little coffee shacks with loos - what more can you ask for?
The first obstacle was a tunnel. I hate tunnels. I dithered for a moment then increased the volume on Eye of the Tiger and 'sprinted' through the 113 yards. Everything settled down again and I was enjoying the bright scarlet rosehips by the trail, the sight of two buzzards scaring off a sparrowhawk - lovely day. Then I came around the corner - and there it was. Hulking at me. A huge great hill filling all the horizon.
I had a go. Honestly, I tried. I fizzled out to a plod about half way up, so walked up to the top, where some kind person had put a sign. With information. Telling me that this was the steepest railway incline in Britain, at a gradient of 1:14. That locomotives often had to have several attempts to get up to the top. That they eventually installed a winch to make things easier. I turned around. I sulked back down the trail, stomped through the tunnel and slammed my car door. I've been brooding about it ever since.
However, there are some positives to come out of my expedition. I now have something to measure myself against. That particular bit of trail is just over 5k long, so I might go to the other end and tackle it in the other direction (and then walk back!). I will know if I am getting fitter, depending on how far I can run up the wretched thing. And who knows, one day I might be able to run all the way up it! Now that would be an achievement