Across the creek that meanders beside my property is a hill. A very big hill by most people’s standards, maybe a couple hundred feet high.

In October, I tried to run up that hill. It was part of a quest to get ready for a November race I ended up not running. As soon as I started up the street that led to the hill, I knew the climb would suck. And suck it did as my legs screamed while I climbed every staircase.

I took a photo of the final staircase, a monstrous beast of 30 or so steep stairs seemed to go straight up. The photo has long been purged from my phone, but the image still haunts me. What sick sadistic maniac would climb that thing? Well, me of course.

Since that climb, winter has set in. The weather and family demands have made runs a rarity. So I set up a home gym and started working out at home.

My setup is simple: a bike trainer, two weights of different poundage and a yoga mat (when my kids aren’t using it). I’m set up in my living room, so I have the furniture at my disposal and my kids. I have been using my youngest kid for weight-resistance work since he was a year old. He sits in my stomach during crunches, rewarding me with a kiss each time I reach him. He also like when I lift him like a barbell over my head while I lay on the floor.

I set a timeframe of 60 days for this experiment of more weights and less cardio. I can’t give you a training schedule: I just tried to work out for at least 15-30 minutes every day. If I got on the bike, I did circuit training: five minute on the bike followed by five minutes of weights or plyometrics.

Last night was the day after the last day of the training. I held my arms out at one point and said, “Look at that! I have definition in my arm!” It was like I won an age group medal, something I should expect but an unexpected surprise just the same.


Today I climbed that snow-covered hill. I’ve been wanting to run for days, but the idea of going out in 9 degree weather was a little off putting.

Today’s weather was perfect. The snow from the night before was still soft and not slushy. The roads and sidewalks were clear because it was warm enough. I just had to decide whether to go up or down the hill.


I went up the hill, this time bypassing the big long staircase at the end. I opted to go further up the hill to a smaller staircase. This time, I only stopped to take photos and adjust my spibelt, which kept riding up my chest (stupid elastic band). I only walked on a really steep section where I almost lost my footing.

The view from the top was awesome. I could see my house and the high school a mile or so away. My little valley seemed a lot smaller for up there.

But my heart grew bigger. I did it. My muscles felt OK. I was still evil and sadistic, but in a kick-butt kind of way. The training paid off, as my body was used to the torture.


I made it back home determined to continue my training program. Now to tweak it so I’ll be ready for a half marathon in May.

Side note: Mountain Kid 1 got into Girls on the Run for this year. We’ve done the end-of-the-session race for two years together. It was one of the first races I did when I started running again. This time I offered to help out. I’m so excited to see what happens! She’s pretty excited too.