Couch to 5K
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A monster!

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 :)

6 Replies

Don't be so hard on yourself, think of the positives! You managed to sprint 113 yards as well as enjoying the beautiful countryside. You didn't fail, that hill sounds awful and it's Sod's law it was there when you least suspected it! You will conquer it and imagine the feeling when you do! Good luck!


You're right, oona, and thanks for the support. It is gorgeous up on that trail, and I will be back for the hill. It will be a great feeling - eventually :)


Wow a monster indeed, especially if a winch was needed! You made me laugh with your stomping and slamming - I can just imagine it - even the tunnel didnt stop the stomping!!

Enjoy your next run. Sue


Believe me, Sue, a toddler would have had nothing on my tantrum :) Never mind, at least I know it's there now and can be prepared for it. I'm considering going to the other end of the trail today to see if that's any better - fingers crossed!


If you map your run on Run My Route - they map out the run gradient -so you can plan to avoid big scary hills. I live in Suffolk, which has very few, but still find it useful when planning when, where and if I want to deal with a hill (or hillock in my case!!!)

But don't it beat you, nothing like a challenge!!!! And apart from the tunnel the rest of the run sounded lovely.


Thanks, Gin - I'll have a look a this and see if it's any clearer than Mapometer which I use. I saw the gradient - I just didn't understand it! And yes, the rest of the run was wonderful, and I guess some people might even have enjoyed the tunnel! Yep, this time next year I will be steaming up that hill, just like the old locomotives :)


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