Mike Madriaga 3 p.m., June 22
Lift Up Thine Eyes Unto the Hills
I just found a new hill to run near my home. For years I resisted hills and considered them the enemy. The hills picked up on my attitude and conspired to kick my butt relentlessly. I realized that I couldn’t beat them so I decided to befriend them.
Finding a good hill to run or cycle is about the best thing any of us can do for our level of fitness. How many of us believe that? Of those who believe it, how many own it—aka routinely run or cycle hills?
How do we start loving the hills? We can look at any hill as if it were our best friend. We can start thinking about hills as if we like them instead of loathe them. Think about it. Are we ever happy to see a hill?
Why are hills our friends? A hill gives us more bang for the buck.
When running a hill, we put in more effort with fewer strides. Fewer strides translate into less wear and tear on the joints.
If we can maintain our posture, it is almost impossible to “heel strike” on a hill. A hill can give us feedback on what a mid-foot strike feels like. The only way to heel strike while running up hill is to bend over at the waist and force the heels into the ground. It ain’t easy.
Hill work gives us speed once we return to a flat surface.
Hill work gives us a full work out when we’re pinched for time.
Hill work has been the cornerstone of the great ones from Bob Bower’s legendary University of Oregon teams to Jerry Rice and the two mile hill that he credits with helping him sustain greatness for 20 NFL seasons to some guy named Lance Armstrong.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” --Psalm 121.
See, even the Lord is telling us that we should hit the hills.