Do Not Look Up!
I’m gonna be honest. It makes me sad when people tell me they won’t go on a certain run/ride or enter an event because it’s too “hilly.” I hear way too often, “I hate hills!” I can’t begin to explain what goes on in my head when I hear those words. So, before my brain boils, I often launch into the following psychology of The Hill. If you’re a hill hater, perhaps this will help.
First – Make friends with the hill! Remember, most of the population will be panicking when they reach a hill and move way too fast, eventually stopping in their tracks. Use this knowledge to your advantage, find your personal rhythm, calmly keep moving and watch to see how many “haters” you pass on the way up. (That’s my favorite part!)
Second – When the elevation starts to go up, shut everything out of your head, listen to your calm slow breath like it’s music and “focus” on that. If you start gasping then slow the hell down and get your focus and breath back.
Third – Do not look up. Look straight ahead just up the road, but do not look up the hill! If you look up and see how far you have to go you’ll freak yourself out, panic and lose your focus. The climb is almost always easier than you think it will be.
Fourth – Break the task down into small, easy to digest chunks. Think to yourself, “Let me just get to the first switch-back,” once there, get yourself to the big tree or some other small goal and keep it going, all the way to the top.
Lastly – Never anticipate the top. Trust that it’s there and keep going until you find it. Remember, once you’re over the top you get to go down!
And there you have it. Kelley’s hard earned words of climbing mind games and wisdom. Use it wisely and for heaven sake… go climb some hills!