We were on our way for our weekly Wednesday workout and May just casually mentions, “Should we do the Incline today?”
“Oh, sure.” I casually reply.
“It’s a quick workout to the top. Should be about a 45 minute workout.”
“Oh, okay.” *yikes*
Right. I’ve never even seen the Incline before. It’s like a urban legend or something. So, we park in the usual lot and walk up to the bottom of the Incline.
You know those people you see doing pilgrimages up lots of steps to pyramids and so forth?
That’s what the incline is like. You can almost hear the angelic choir as you look up the trail. When you get to the top, you expect the voice of God to come booming down on you.
May gave me some warnings – “There is a false summit. You’ll think you are at the top, but you won’t be.” “At the steepest part up there (she points), the footing is not great.” “Use your hands to get up.”
And then we began. And May blazed on ahead with her iron lungs and amazing quads.
“Just keep moving,” I tell myself. And it’s tough, even at the bottom. I pass a couple of gals, and we exchange pleasantries, breathlessly. “See that person up there in the blue and pink?” I say, pointing upwards. “That’s my friend I’m here with.” Suitable words of amazement follow. I’m awed by May’s abilities myself.
So, I move on. And on. And it’s steep. And it’s hard. And my legs are feeling the burn. And I start calculating in my head. “So, May says it’s a 40 minute workout. Her race pace is about 8 min/mi and mine is about 10 min/mi. So, she’s 20% faster than me. It’s my first time, so I should be done in about 55 minutes. 55 minutes of this sheer uphill? Damn it, May.”
Have I mentioned I have a fear of heights? It’s not nearly as bad as it has been in the past, but its still there, despite years of rock climbing and living on a mesa. My legs are tiring, and I step up on a tie, and lose my balance. I literally flap my arms so I don’t fall backwards. Man, it would totally suck to fall from up here. I press on.
At this point, I’m just trying to get from one self conceived landmark to the next. At one point, I stop for a minute and sit down on a tie. And I look out in front of me. The view is incredible. And I see a guy coming up the incline pretty quickly. I tell myself (internally), “Get up! What are you doing? Get up!”
So I do. And I keep moving. Slowly. Then this guy blows by me like I’m standing still. Holy crap.
And now I’m filled with doubt. I don’t think I can make it to the top today. I’m going to have to sit down and call May (we always carry cell phones) and tell her I’ll get to the top next time. After a while, I see her at the top. Is that the top? Or is that the false summit? Crap. If that’s the false summit, I’m definitely not making it to the top. Then I see the guy that blew by me BREAK INTO A RUN up there. Is he kidding me? That must be the top. Surely May wouldn’t wait for me at the false summit? Surely that guy wouldn’t break into a run for the false summit?
“C’mon, you can do it.” I hear May’s encouraging voice as I get closer. JUST. A. FEW. MORE. STEPS…
Made it! “You did it!” she says. “What’s your time?” I look at my iPod (51:14 minus the 3:51 from the parking lot – 47:23).
“47 minutes,” I say, surprising myself. She tells me it’s great. I can’t think straight, I’m just glad it’s over. Thrilled even.
I did the Incline!!