Weekly Hill Workout: Rainy Days and Mondays

August 23, 2010

A nice, dreary drizzle was falling as Tom Cali, Martha Nelson, Mike Renz, Costas Maranas, Matt Soccio, Tom Hilands, Bob Cornwall, Jim Moore, Esther Prins, and Rob Shaver headed out toward hillville. There was a lot of nasty nursery rhyme banter flying around--which was actually a refreshing departure from the usual "That's what she said" conversations. I was on a mission since I had to be back at the Chemistry Bldg by 1:00 to trade off kid-care with Greg.  No ATV excursions today. As we we running along towards the top of Sparks St, who should appear out of the mist but the old silverback himself, Bwana. He was thumping his chest about how hills are harder to climb on a bike than on legs.  Jim Myers, Lance Bland, and Kim Nelson also joined in the fun once we reached the hill.

Lance was wearing his red hot-pants again--perhaps in an attempt to overcome that last name of his. I wore my own hot-pants as a tribute, although, unfortunately, mine were more of the cold and wet type. And apparently (thanks to Tom's slightly too keen eye-sight), three-ply mesh is required for rainy days.

Purely out of curiosity (and not all all out of competitiveness), I took DCR attendance to see which of the teams was best represented. Solo team reps included Myers for Moore's team, Renz for team Effrig, Maranas for his self-titled team, and Cornwall for team Alternative Lifestyle.  Double winners included Hot Cross Bun's Cali and Nelson, Shekinah's Prins and Soccio, and the Dominator's Minard and Moore (I must have forgotten to inform the rest of my team-mates that hill workouts are MANDATORY.)

After four increasingly hydro-paved hills, I needed to hurry back for the hand-off.  Several (including Myers and Renz--who was rubbing in my foolish "page-two Blue Moon induced" oversight) stayed behind to do more.  Nothing motivates better than MTB-mania--just check out the feverish gleam in Myer's eyes.  Today was merely the first of many manic Mondays to come.....

Weekly Hill Workout: Are We There Yet?

August 17, 2010

It was a bright, sun-shiney day as a nicely-clad group of runners (no split-legs or spandex today), including Jonathan Thurley, Costas Maranas, Tom Cali, Rob Shaver, Jim Moore, Randy Jepson, Bob Cornwall, and Ken Davis headed out in search of the Hidden Hills of Howmuchfurther.  Along the way we ran into Sir Lancelot Bland, whose red shorts hinted of hotpants*, but perhaps they were just serving some sort of rehabilitative purpose.  The juvenile crew wasted a lot of oxygen on the way over harassing me about how long it was taking to get there, and complaining about every slight rise in the sidewalk, etc.... and I almost threatened to turn the pack around....until I realized that I would be giving them exactly what they wanted.  So I channeled my road rage (made even more fearsome by my cranky knee) into herding the group straight to hill (i think i might have nipped at Thurley's heels in the process. And also pushed him into traffic.  He'll be sub-20 minute in no time).  I would like to point out that we arrived at the corner of Easterly and University at exactly 12:28pm, as promised.  Mighty Joel Niemann was there to meet us (he eats hill for breakfast.)   Together, we left our comfortable suburban surroundings behind and ventured into un-paved, un-landscaped territory.

After many twists and turns and attacks from man-eating roots, we arrived at the middle of nowhere to find not one, but two hills awaiting our lumbering footsteps.  Hill #1 was a semi-civilized gravel/dirt path with a moderate incline...until the last twenty yards or so, which produced some great WTF expressions on people's faces the first time up. After coasting back down Hill #1, we took a side path over to Hill #2.  The path was sufficiently long enough for Calidonna to school us on his patented "Mini-Burst" pick-ups, although with each series of repeats the Bursts became harder and harder to detect.  Hill #2 was more of an earthy, toe-digging,  kind where we had to carve a path from the hillside ourselves.  My kind of climb!!!  We (and I use that term very loosely) did the two-hill circuit three times.  Then, a native guide appeared to lead us back to civilization--and Five Guys Burgers.  And, despite my crankiness and the fact that I forced everyone to eat hill, I was delivered to the doorstep of my building by a nicely appointed male-escort service of three!  

Thanks all--see you next MONDAY!

*Categorized as "short shorts", they commonly have an inseam length of two inches or less. These are short, tight shorts, usually made of cotton, nylon, or some other common material. They are meant to emphasize the buttocks and the legs. Launched by fashion designer Mary Quant during the "Swinging London" scene of the mid 1960s,[5] hot pants were very popular up to the early 1970s. During this time the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team created a unit of usherettes called the Hot Pants Patrol, who wore all-in-one garments incorporating hot-pants.

Tuesday Hill Workout: Saw 8 --- 4D!

August 3, 2010

It was a perfect hill day--hot and oppressively humid--as a foolhardy group consisting of Jonathan Thurley, Randy Jepson, Martha Nelson, Tom Cali,  Mike Weyandt, Joel Niemann, John Sheakoski, Michael Goldfine, Dave Mengle (fresh blood!) and Dave DeGroote set out for Sunset Park, blissfully ignorant of the horrors that lay in store.  Their first clue should have been the fact that no other victims greeted them when they arrived at the site of their suffering.  Well, that's not entirely true;  Bob Chandler was already there, but from the way he was abusing the hill he could hardly be called a victim.

As we began the first see of the saw we had the usual dispute over where the hill ended.  I told everyone to just head for the light--meaning the lighthouse lawn ornament (not the "light" house, as a certain literalist thought.).  The day's big (well, actually little) discovery was a mini-Joe-pa perched on the deck of the lighthouse, which made Calidonna feel quite big.  After suffering through two rounds of the jigsaw, I mean see-saw, and bathing in gratuitous amounts of our own lactic acid, we decided we needed to escape from our hell hole.  All we needed to do was grab Meira's keys and....well, you know how this story goes.  Yesterday's key adventure included a high speed car chase and some CSI work.  Special thanks to key contributors Michael Goldfine (my stunt-driver), and Mark Lee and Mikey Weyandt (who manned the search party).  Little did my minions know that this was all an elaborately designed test to see who would earn the coveted role of Hill King for next week.   And the winner of the Keys to the Hilldom?  None other than Mikey W--who saved my keys and got me home in time to take my kids to Park Forest Pool.  My hero!!!!  Plus, he got to run several extra hills in the process (major bonus!!)

My only regret so far as Hill Queen?  Although several runners "saw the light" yesterday, not a single masochistic soul in the group has been so filled with the Hill Spirit that they yell "I LOVE HILLS" during one of my workouts.

I guess that conversion only happens to a very special chosen few.....

Tuesday Hill Workout: 4 Hills!

August 10, 2010

Since the true Hill Queens were MIA, Meira announced last week that I drew the short straw of Hill Drag Queen for the day. Knowing that the weather was going to be hazy, hot and humid, I tried to select a place that would have a little shade, my choice -- 4 Hills.  Given the fact that I don't own a skort and I talk with a deeper voice, I was amazed that I had anyone show up at Rec Hall.  However, there was a crown waiting! Maybe they were hoping to catch a glimpse of retro 70's shorts.  Sorry to disappoint! Joining in the day of hill slaying was Costas Marana, Rob Peterson, Kevin Becker, John Sheakoski, Matt Soccio, George Lesieutre, Mark Traband, Adam Smith, Bob Chandler, Jon Oatley and a woman I didn't meet.  Possibly a few others I forgot. We were greeted by Martha Nelson, John Domico and Tom Cali as they ran down the hill and disappeared off into the haze.  Also joining when we arrived was Marty Mazur, killing the hills on his bike. Will he be recovered and ready to join us next time?

To say the least, the air was sticky but we weren't to be stopped.  The plan in my mind was to do a 4x but a few of us cut it off short and settled for a 3x.  I am sure there were some that weren't going to be denied their need for hills and completed the entire assignment.  There were a few surprising no shows today but guess we can blame that on summer travel.

Assuming that next week Meira "Hill Queen 2" Minard will be back in action, I am sure that we will have an even larger turnout.

Tuesday Hill Workout: Short and Steep

July 27, 2010

It was a beautiful day--the kind of day that made you want to strut around in a pastel shirt and white buckskins--as Jonathan Thurley, Mike Weyandt, Matt Soccio, Kevin Becker, Martha Nelson, Tom Cali, John Domico, Jim Moore, Bob Cornwall, and Costas Maranas headed out of Rec Hall toward today's Hill du jour.  Along the way we held many thought provoking conversations, discussing such controversial issues as May-December romances, the *c* word (Martha is launching a campaign to make it cuter and friendlier), and the number of chili-peppers Calidonna should be awarded on "Rate my Prof".

When we arrived, the hill was already under attack by Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Rob Peterson, Jessica Wekke, John Sheakoski and Joel Niemann.  It was good to have Lance back, especially since his back is not covered in hair like oh so many others.  I called a workout of 5 hills, all of them ending at the top of the bike path except for the last one which would go all the way to the top of Gill St. (not Sparks...apparently someone was spreading around some mis-information about today's workout!)  However, I couldn't keep everyone on a short leash, and a few overachievers (who were carrying torches and wearing red wigs) did all their repeats to the tippy top. And of course, the hill cop tried to pass off as law some "telephone pole to first driveway" hill standard--however, I chose to use the much more precise "shade begins to shade ends" distance measurement. 

Some of today's top performers include Mikey Weyandt--who raised some major hill, Costas Maranas--who wore his split-leg, thigh-baring shorts for the occasion (so powerful, I had to shield my eyes!), and Jim Myers, who went flying by me in a blur of fiery hill passion.