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.