What Was I Thinking- by Rich Sallustro

What Was I Thinking Tuesday?!
Interestingly enough, the topic of today’s agenda is the very experience that has brought me here today. This post is rated PG-13.
It was July 2013, again only several months after I had really started to take this running stuff seriously. In my mind I was a superstar….did well in my first 5K in Blue Point, signed up for the LI Airport Run for Vets a month later and shave an additional 30 sec off my 5K…I was a fine tuned running machine and it only took me 5 months! (insert sarcasm here). I could do this silly hill course in my sleep….bring it on! Clearly, I was delusional.

Anyway, back to July. June mentions this hilly 10K (6.2 miles for you anti-metric people) course in Selden that a group has been running almost every Wednesday afternoon…pretty tough run she explains but the people are great. Tough, shmuff, I’m gonna do this!
So on what seemed to be the hottest, most humid Wednesday afternoon on record, June and I ventured to the 7 sisters.

June: “You didn’t bring a water bottle”?

Pheidippides: “For what, it’s only six miles, I’ll drink something at home after we’re done”

June: “It’s extremely hot and humid, you really need to stay hydrated and cool”

Pheidippides: “No worries “mom”…I’ll be ok, how hard can this be, let’s go”

So off we went…..up the first hill on Adirondack…..man, that was NOT easy….but let’s keep going…it’s now flat and easy, somewhat.
Over Mooney Pond we go, slight hill, not too bad…..maybe we should speed up a bit…ha! I knew I could do this!
Before you know it..Uuuum…that’s a BIG hill, as I stare up at this mammoth Tsunami of dirt and rock…..holy climb Batman! Maybe I should have thought twice about this…..I’ll do my best, but I better walk a bit before my lungs explode.
Whew, Summit Pl at last, we made it to the top ….thank God, that was unfreakn be-lie-va-ble….wait, what the F*@K is that??!!! Are you kidding me??!!! Another one?! It looks worse than the last one! Ok….if I run as fast as I can down this hill, my momentum will propel me up at least halfway up…..right??…gravity had other plans.

So there I am, crawling up (more than half way up I might add) to the top of the “radio tower” hill, I am not really sure what to do? I am exhausted and hot; thank God it’s another downhill….a nice one too…at least the worse is over. I’m sure we’re at 25,000 feet given the lack of oxygen, that skeleton in the parka and the fact that I can spot Cuba from here.
Oh, we’re not done yet, there another hill but it’s not as steep? Ok, lets keep going, by the way, is there a 7-11, gas station or a sewer drain nearby so I can get something to drink? No? Thanks for sharing June! smile emoticon
So there we are, a little “rested” from the downhill and now running up Rosemont……”how long is this road June” (insert whining/concerned tone here)? Cuz by my account the 6 miles is just about up? What do you mean we’re not even halfway done….I don’t care what your bloody Garmin says, are you insane woman?? Ok, calm down, let’s make it to the top of this “last” hill but I’m gonna need to hydrate soon, the vultures circling above us are starting to get me nervous.

Fortunately, the lack of “No Trespassing” signs was just what we needed and after drinking from a hose like a dog pissed off at a sprinkler, we endure. That little downhill on Rosemont and flat part on Oakcrest allowed me to catch my breath once again…..thank the Lord it’s all downhill from here and that we’re not going back on Adirondack..that would be crazy..ha ha..why isn’t anybody laughing? Ok, we need to make this right on Berkshire and….are you F#@King kidding me?????
Where the hell did THAT come from??? You cannot be serious…whose bright idea was it hire Satan to design this course? NO, there’s just NO way I can do this!! You people need help, intense psychological help…no, I am not kidding and I want my mommy…NOW! What’s that?? She’s not coming? I have no choice, I must go on without her.
At this point, barely making it up the hill from hell, my entire body was covered in sweat drawn by the relentless heat and humidity…I may as well have just stepped out of the East River I was so “fragrant”. For the next undulating mile, I cursed every glacier that had dropped its New Jersey “load” on LI….creating this heinous topology. Then, just when I had reached my limit for the 8th time, there it was, Blue Point Rd…..just a wonderful stretch of magnificent decline and flatness..tears of joy started to rinse the crusty layers of salt that had accumulated on my now, sun scorched face. But just when you thought it was over, that final hump…oh Lord, please….no more..I just can’t, I promise not to lie on my taxes and I’ll go to church more often than Christmas and Easter…please, not anther one!!
Great…he (or she) heard me! Turns out it was just a “little” reminder not to get too smug now that you’re feeling good about this final mile right before the security of the parking lot…where you’ll find the rest of the warriors waited for every last runner to make it back safe.
That day was very close to being my memorable moment Monday, but the “What was I thinking” definitely trumped it. Just like many of you, while on the hills for the first few times I thought “never again”, but that grand feeling of accomplishment you get from hitting that pole is too compelling; we just keep returning to our beloved hills for more.

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