I really don’t know what The Hill is called, or how high it is, but I started walking up it shortly after I arrived in Lafayette. Its elevation begins on Ninth Street continues seemingly straight up to 14th Street – five blocks of punishment. I remember how it was pure torture when I first tried to walk up it nearly four years ago.
I noticed how I have to give my Ford Taurus some extra gas just to get my car up it driving through Lafayette (that's what happened to my transmission). Walking up it has always been chore and not for the weak, but today, I’m going to RUN up it. The Terminator reserved this day for a nice easy walk, but I decided I can walk the rest of the route from my apartment on Fourth Street to the Five Points intersection near Walgreens. Today, I will plant my jogging flag on top of The Hill.
It was a simple strategy really: Run up the hill as fast as I could and make it to the top before I got really tired. It’s just five blocks. No sweat. It was a little chilly and wet, so I put on a sweatshirt and sweat pants, but the extra weight would not stop me from my conquest.
I started my walk as usual, from Fourth Street and Wall to downtown Lafayette to South, then I made my approach to Ninth, motivating myself along the way.
I had a stop light at Ninth, giving me just enough time to get into a runner’s start and when it turned green, I was off with my “fast start” strategy. By the time I reached 10th Street, I realized I had to rethink my strategy. My fast start strategy wasn’t really much of a strategy as it was wishful thinking. Needless to say I was into my huffing and puffing “dead man” breathing and I hadn’t gone two blocks, but I kept running – at a much slower pace.
There were two things I didn’t plan on. Because of my weight loss, my trusty all-purpose sweat bottoms were not staying on me as I imagined. They would fall and I used one hand to push them back up. They would fall again and I would push them back up. I immediately thought of the guy on American Idol singing “Pants On the Ground.” Yep, if I had a do-rag on, I would be straight up gangsta at this stage looking to see if the Lafayette Police were behind me.
I also didn’t plan of scaring the begeezers out of the St. Mary parishioners showing up for Mass at the intersection of Ninth and 11th streets. Here I was running up the hill next to expensive and well-kept cars and SUVs, out of breath and holding up my sweats up with one hand. I saw at least one woman clutch her purse and pull out her cell phone. Maybe she’s calling the LPD or paramedics. Or maybe she was calling TMZ.
“Hey, I found the rapper Biggie Smalls. He’s running up this hill on South Street in Lafayette, Indiana. He’s not moving very fast, so you should be able to catch him.”
Sure, I could have stopped and pulled up my sweats, which are now around my thighs, but then The Hill would have won. I’ve got two blocks to go.
My pace slowed as I started to stumble over the sweats but I was able to pull them up just enough reach the top of The Hill on 14th Street. I made it.
“Okay, I’m done,” I thought, thinking I should stick out my thumb and hitchhike my way back. Then I thought, “Right, I breathing like I’ve got asthma, sweaty with sweats that don’t even fit. I wouldn’t pick me up. Nevermind.”
I slowly walked to the Five Corners intersection and started my slow descent down The Hill on Main Street, with a smile on my face, thinking I just had my first real accomplishment in this 5K workout stuff.
But at what cost? Did I really have to go gangsta with the sweats and show my underwear to the world? Did I really have to scare half of St. Mary’s Cathedral? Since the police didn’t show up, I guess it wasn’t so bad.
Imagine if that would have happened at the Turkey Trot in D.C. Oh, I would have been picked up by Homeland Security, stuffed in a box and stored in this big warehouse with the Lost Ark, the Alien from Area 51 and Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, never to be seen again. In that light, I think I’ll be purchasing new sweat bottoms this week.
I’ll take little victories where I can get them, so today, I plant my flag on top of the South Street Hill, whether it likes it or not.