On Sunday, I ran just over 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym. It kicked my ass. I wanted to die. (Or at least to stop running. Maybe death is melodramatic.)
Actually, I didn't exactly run the miles, unless you consider 3.2mph (18:45 minute miles) to be running. But, you see, that was the fastest speed I could muster - nearly twice as slow as my normal training runs.
Because, understand, the incline was set to 11%.
What craziness is this? It's in preparation for Mt. Washington.
Even this won't be enough - the course description says that the race "has an average grade of 11.5% with extended sections of 18%."
On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"