I reach the crest of my driveway, do an about-face and walk back down the graveled, 50-yard descent. At the bottom, I spin another 180 degrees and trek torwards the top, the 18th time this morning.

I occupy my mind with an audiobook, Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. I consider the contents of this title as crucial developmental material for my next race. 
It’s a well-written dissertation on strategies used by smaller, weaker contestants to overcome superior opponents.

I press the lap button on my Garmin watch to mark lap 19 before stumbling back down the hill.

My view during these early morning sessions… spectacular, huh?

It’s been one month since I ran the Georgia Jewel 37.5 miler. My training resumed two weeks ago, but I’ve been nursing a mystery injury near my left shin; though with a little at-home physical therapy and an icing regimen the injury has healed. 

I reach the top of the driveway once again, turn around and travel back down this forested corridor once more. 

Though covered by trees on both sides, my neighbors have a straight-on view up the hill from their screened-in back porch. I imagine they’re sitting back there now, sipping coffee, and watching my headlamp bob along my self-constructed “hamster wheel”.  They must think I’m crazy.

I am.

There are less than five months before my next race, The Elsie Enduro. It’s a Last-Man-Standing format, which means the race will continue until the second to last runner quits. Each loop is two-and-a-half miles every 40 minutes, with 423 ft of elevation. The winner from last year’s inaugural event covered 67.5 miles with over 10,000ft of elevation. My last race, the Georgia Jewel 37.5 miler, only gained 6,100ft. 
So for now, in the absence of a Nordic Track Incline Trainer, I’m spending many of my mornings taking hill repeats on the steepest portion of my driveway.
I turn around once again and hike upwards.

A child’s scribble, compared to the runs of elites in the field…
The elevation profile from the race.