Hill Me.

 

A few years I wrote about hills being speedwork in disguise.  I thought about this today as I once again traversed the overpass that suffices for a hill.  I use a few hills like this when I do repeats.  They’re not very treacherous.  Unless you are recovering from a stress fracture.

I thought of this today as I started my 4 miler of 2 block/1 block recovery run.  I was hoping that by the time I got to my overpass, I would be running.  I had noticed a twinge in my foot a few days ago, and just tried to baby it as much as possible, because the worst thing that could happen would be for me to never be able to run.   If I have to protect this foot a little longer, I’ll do it.

I hit the bottom of the hill, and could feel the familiar quad burn as I attacked it.  I looked down, could feel the sweat already pouring off me due to the 80 degree temps, but nonetheless, decided it was now or never.  So.  I sprinted.  I was winded, but I needed this for the win today.  I finally got to the top, out of breath, drenched.

When I trained for SLO, I vowed to never walk a hill.  Because, that’s when the workout comes.  When it’s hard.  So I trained diligently, and only broke the vow one time in 19 weeks.  Lucky for me, that was maybe the hilliest marathon I’d ever run, so I was prepared.

The rest of the run went great.  I burned a bunch of sweet calories, and naturally, my mood shifted and I felt incredibly blessed.  That I could still do this.

The only thing that I realized was that my iPod music is tired.  Today, I’m working on deleting and adding music to reflect new journeys and new plans.  Meanwhile, I am luxuriating in the afterglow of a nice hill attack.  Feels good, and I feel strong.

4 more miles in the Recovery Bank.

PR.

Yesterday, I wrote about my new plan:  To run a 5:30 marathon.  I know.  It’s a 30 minute PR.  But.  I spent hours crafting my paces and types of run, and finally, finally.  Wrote. It. Down.

Losing 10 pounds made a difference.  I’m told a gallon of milk weighs 7 pounds.  I had that on my back, my thighs.  Seems like not a lot, but it has made a huge difference.  And, I still have some to go.

This morning was the California 10K in Stockton.  I signed up at the last minute, but for $25 you couldn’t go wrong, and I had done this before, although it was the California 10M.  It’s a great local race, and where all the people my age who’ve been running forever, come out and support the cause.

I got to the race early-ish, and found Row, and my new gal pal Alexis.  We quickly added each other on Facebook, and started snapping our “before” pictures.  This one, was in front of the ambulance.  I LOVE IT…Wore my Husker hat so that Lisa would be proud.

I was already having a blast, and the race hadn’t even started.  I do what I do at the beginning of every race.  I look for the 50 year olds, and try to put a target on their back.  Cuz I know they will be faster.  But.  Not today.  I know I have the volume needed for the 10K, but do I have the speed?  5Ks are speedwork, Half Marathons are slower paced…but the 10K, you really have to burn for 6 miles.  I love finding them!

My PR for a 10K had been set in October of 2008, with a Sacramento area race.  It had been over 3 years since I had done anything really good on a 10K.  But, today as I toed the line on the levee, I knew I had it in me.  The only thing I am going to try to do differently is to run negative splits next time.  I burned a lot at the beginning, and had very little at the end.

Mile 1: 10:18

Mile 2: 10:47

Mile 3: 10:42

Mile 4: 10:56

Mile 5: 11:12

Mile 6: 11:04

This course is an out and back, up and down race.  I learned from my old coach how to run down hills, so I just let my arms go and let gravity take me, and I would again have use my arms to run up to the top.  The main thing I’m doing in my training this time, is never EVER walk a hill.  I hear SLO is mighty hilly…so I need to prep for that.

I really enjoyed this race.  It was sunny and 40 degrees, near perfection.  I had my Zensah sleeves and dollar store gloves, but those were off by mile 2.  The volunteers were great.  I took a sip of water and kept running at 3.  I could feel myself slow way way way down at mile 4-5.  I had tried a Chocolate Cherry CLIF shot, and my stomach was doing somersaults.  A girl who had run with me the whole way, suddenly took off running.  Turns out she was 28 years old, and got 2nd in her AG…I was pretty stoked about that!

Then I saw them.

An older couple.  My age.  Slowing down.  I had a half mile to go.  I put the target on her back, because I had seen her at the turn around, and quickly assessed her to be in my age group.  Slowly, methodically, I started talking to my feet.  Catch. Her.  And.  About 20 yards from the finish, I sped ahead of her.  Got in moments before her.  But, that was all I wanted.

As I crossed, I felt Puke Threshold coming, and knew I better walk.  I hadn’t burned that way in a long time.  In fact, my last 10K in May was an 11:46 pace, and VERY slow.  Only 8 months later…a minute faster.

I couldn’t be happier with this race today.  I’m almost 53.  My last PR for this course was set when I was 49.  Who says it can’t be done?

Not. Me.

Hills Are Speedwork In Disguise.

Today’s quest: 4 miles.  1 mile warm up and cool down.

And 2 miles of hills.  Only problem:  Where to find one. 
We settled for the catwalk

It was our return to training.

All those 3 milers last week, and 2 more weeks of base building.

Then training.

Our goal was to do 2 full miles of hills, so we did the catwalk 18 times.  Yes. 18.

And, it was hard and my hamstrings were begging for mercy and my glutes are still sore as I type.

But, I’ve never felt more alive. 

Hills.  We eat them for breakfast.  Still.