Sunday, March 2, 2008

Head for the Hills!

For anyone living outside of Central Florida, this post may seem odd. In order for us to do any serious hill training, we must drive 30 miles west from Orlando, to Clermont, FL. At one time Clermont was one of the largest citrus producing areas in Florida. The citrus groves are all but eliminated, replaced by houses, houses and more houses. In tribute to the citrus industry, a tower, "The Citrus Tower" was built. It sits high atop a hill, visible for miles. My best description of it would be that it looks like the space shuttle waiting to be launched.

Many distance runners, cyclists and triathletes use the Clermont hills for training. The "National Training Center" is located here for good reason.

One of the final hills on the 7.5 mile loop we run is called "Hospital Hill." Yes there is a hospital nearby, how clever! I read a quote from Marty Stern, a coach at Villanova University. He said, "If a hill has its own name, then its probably a pretty tough hill." "Hospital Hill" is that.

So on Sunday morning, about 20 of us from our running group headed for the hills. We started our run in the darkness at 6:00am. "The Citrus Tower" was illuminated and looked more like the space shuttle. Up, down and around, up, down and around, up, down, we went, then it was all done in just over one hour. You feel a certain sense of accomplishment in conquering the hills.

Following the run we gathered at Cafe Bandoli for a hearty breakfast and to tell tales of our adventures on the hills. Soon after eating we made our way back to the "flatlands" of Orlando.

If we had only listened to U. S. Olympic marathon runner Don Kardong who said, "Hills, you entered a marathon with hills? You idiot."

Disclaimer - The photograph does not accurately depict the hills in Clermont, FL.


Runner's Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quote! I'll be sure to stay away from Kardong. I've run several 5Ks with hills, a 10K with hills, a 15K with hills, a half marathon with "Jeff Gilooley rip out your kneecaps" hills, and the God's Country Marathon that boasts a 2 mile incline peaking at mile 18. I ran that marathon twice. You know what, Kardong is right. I am an idiot!

ShirleyPerly said...

I was gonna say that photo does not look like Colorado more than Clermont!!

I really should run those hills out in Clermont but am too lazy to drive out there. I did once ride my bike up/down a few of them (Buck Hill, Sugarloaf & Hospital) as part of an event -- tough!

runninggeezer262 said...

Shirley. We often carpool, meet at Track Shack, so you are welcome to join us. Our next trip is scheduled for April 6th.

runninggeezer262 said...

Not an "idiot" you just happen to live in an area of the country that has an abundance of hills and snow,ice,cold,etc. My favorite Kardong quote is, "Avoid any diet that discourages the use of hot fudge."

Sunshine said...

Hot fudge!! Yes!!

Donna N. said...

Actually that photo looks more like Mount Dora.

runninggeezer262 said...

The photo is actually from the island of Corsica. No, I was not there, it is a "file" photo.