17 July, 2011

Up hill and down dale

Having struggled with my running times - to say nothing of my motivation - for the last 12 months or more, I have been looking for a change of direction to keep me motivated. Running point to point with the promise of a lift at the end of the route has a certain appeal, however that requires the said lift to be available. Whilst this is sometimes an option, it is not always practical so other alternatives are necessary.One option which I have been toying with for some time, is a slight change of route which takes me away from the river, but introduces some fairly serious hill climbing. I have never been that fond of running uphill - a straight line on the flat is hard enough as it is! - but I have heard others proclaim that they actually prefer running uphill. I have also read and heard anecdotal claims that hill work will help my running times on the flat.
Footings of Highton House, later Montpellier Hotel
overlooking Geelong
One of the advantages of running around the river of course, is that water flows to the lowest available point, meaning that there are usually a significant number of much higher points which can also be run to. With this in mind, I have once or twice staggered my way to the top of the hill on which the cement works sit, overlooking Fyansford. Yes, it is a killer, but it is also a relatively short distance - although it never seems that way at the time. So, instead, I thought I'd head to Queen's Park and up the Scenic Road hill. Not so steep, but quite a bit longer. This task I accomplished fairly comfortably, but at no great speed, on Friday. From the top of the climb I headed down to Montpellier Drive and round to the park of the same name, where the promised ride was waiting.
This was also an opportunity to snap a shot or two of the river from a different angle and to take a shot of a subject from one of my earlier blog posts, or at least the remaining footings thereof - Highton House, built by the settler John Highett after whom Highton is named, and later converted to the Montpellier Hotel, Picnic and Pleasure Ground by Edwin Hooper. Appropriately enough as I write, the peloton of the Tour de France is winding its way through the Montpellier district of France, and the vineyards for which this park was named.
The views of Geelong and surrounds from this high point are quite impressive, taking in the Barwon, Corio Bay, the You Yangs in the far distance and glimpses of the profiles of many familiar buildings around town. It is not hard to see why John Highett chose this location to build his home.
View of Geelong, the Barwon and Corio Bay from
Montpellier Park, Highton
Buoyed by my relative success on Friday, I decided to have a slightly more serious go at the hills today. So, sporting a new pair of Asics Kayano 17s which I've had my eye on for a while, I hit the road. This time, instead of arranging for collection at the end, I headed to the river and up to Princes Bridge then detoured off the river and up Mt. Pleasant Road to Scenic Road before heading down again to Queen's Park and back along the river and home. Sounds easy enough put like that and all up, only about 16km but certainly somewhat harder on the legs and lungs than staying on the river.
As I suspected, it was also significantly harder than Friday's run. In addition to being about 5.5km longer, the run up Mt Pleasant Road was anything but! It is definitely the steeper option of the two - probably the reason why the powers that be decided that the time trialists riding in the UCI Cycling World Championship last October would ride this particular route.
Well, once again, I can't say my time was anything to boast about, but I did survive and was not so put off that I wouldn't consider repeating the effort at some time in the near future. Perhaps also I'll see a difference in my times once I'm back on the flat. I live in hope...


  1. ty for the post, i might go look very soon myself..

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