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Preparing to Pound Pavement in Port Washington

A few samples of warm air and Local Editor Lyssa Beyer has learned the real challenges awaiting a runner in this city.

I'm training for a half-marathon in May, but I hate running in the winter.

Maybe I chose the wrong month to run my first 13.2-mile race, a thought that was especially reiterated after logging hours and miles of not-going-anywhere on the treadmill.

So you can imagine some of these nice days have been a breath of fresh air for me (literally), and finally a chance to run free on the open road.

I felt rejuvenated running down West Grand Avenue, watching as my footsteps brought me closer to the big blue of Lake Michigan, and listening as my feet hit the ground actually moving. me. forward. Step by step!

I felt at peace circling Upper Lake Park, were one side of the course offered a beautiful view over the bluff while I pushed through the other half of the loop recalling the view that await once I hit bluff again.

But the rejuvenation and peace became minimal as I struggled to make my loop through Port Washington, along city streets that were seemingly uphill both ways.

I attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a school notoriously known for its "hill." The hill connects lower campus to upper campus at an incline lasting long enough and high enough that it's even given credit as helping incoming students avoid the "freshman 15." I can say this much — I noticed a difference in my level of fitness after moving off campus, no longer faced with the (sometimes more-than-once) daily climb.

And even though Eau Claire may be hilly throughout, from as far as I could see it was only really known for its one hill.

But here — well, I found out the hard way that's not quite the case.

Training for a half-marathon means I'm logging some pretty lengthy runs, and finding out that there are, say, 10 hills, both up and down, in the course of a 7-mile loop is something that comes as quite the extra kick to my dilapitating running form as I climb the final ascent to my home, where I live, on the top of — a hill.

I've read about Port Washington being known as the city of seven hills, and I'm sure — like the one hill in Eau Claire — there are truly seven hills that have a higher level of fame than all the rest. So maybe there wasn't really 10 hills during that run, but when you're logging that many miles in one of Port's first near-80 degree day of 2011 ... the ups and downs blend together in my runners' delusion.

I like this city, but I have a very different mindset when trying desperately to get to the top of a climb, only to be met with another mountain staring at me in the not-too-far distance. In a word — well, I think there's only a gasp at this point.

I can say one thing: when it comes to running the half-marathon on a far more flat terrain, I have a feeling those 13.2 will feel like a breeze after 7 miles on the up and up.

Oh, and another thing: I think it's time to shop for a bike.

Maggie Wright April 17, 2011 at 12:17 PM
The hills around here are awful! They would totally throw off our times when we were doing our training. Finally after weeks of torture, we decided to explore the Interurban Trail and did that from then on. It is awesome, you are running through fields, lots of animals, very quiet. When I ran by myself, I was able to run faster (fear of being alone in a cornfield does wonders for adrenaline.) I can't wait until it gets and stays a little warmer so we can take D out on our bikes. I highly recommend one as a way to get around town! Good luck!

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