in a previous life, i loved to run the crown king scramble, which started outside of phoenix and ended in the namesake town. it was a 50k, with 28 miles straight uphill and a 3-mile drop at the end. 6,000-foot elevation gain (for real). it was hard. but it was no match for the Hill of Death.
today’s SOL called for hills, so i went to the most fearsome climb in the city, which isn’t really known for its mountainous terrain. it begins at zero feet above sea level (it actually starts AT the sea, which, as it turns out, really IS level) and climbs THIRTY FREAKING FEET to pretty much the top of the world, or at least the top of Ocean Drive. it’s hard to imagine just how steep this hill is till you’re standing there and looking straight up. but to put it in perspective, if you ran it 30 times, you’d get the same elevation gain as climbing the steps to board the plane to go to nepal. which you’re probably best to avoid for a while because of the tragedy and all. i ran this hill at full speed (which really isn’t very full at all) NOT once, NOT twice, NOT 65 times, but um, four times. which doesn’t seem like much now, but had me to the point of heaving the pumpkin empanada i ate for national donut day. i was actually bummed that i didn’t, because i thought it would make a great national donut day photo. the only downside: crown king ended at a saloon with free beer. the Hill of Death just ends back at the car, where i had half of a warm diet coke. but then i stood in the ocean while regaining the will to live. try doing THAT in central arizona. 3 miles (12:12). it’s a start. now all i need is a finish.