Monday, March 02, 2009

H-I-Double Hockey Sticks

* So, I made the mistake of driving part of the course of the half-marathon I am planning to run at the end of May.  Peanut and I were on our way home from visiting my grandparents when he conked out in his car seat so I figured what they hay and decided to take a little drive while he snoozed.  Even though the race is relatively close to my house as far as races go, it's not in an area that I am all that familiar with.  I got off the freeway and it seemed harmless enough.  But then I made a turn onto the road that makes up the midsection of the race and drove the opposite direction.  Yikes.  And then about 5 miles later I turned around to go the way I'll be running in a few months. Double Yikes.  Seriously. It's insane! There are some big hills in the first 3.5 miles, but there are lots of breaks in between them so that's not too bad.  But the last 1.5 miles is a solid uphill with no breaks.  From the car, it looked pretty brutal. I know that a lot of the time hills look worse from the car than they do when you're actually running them, so I'll take my impression with a tiny grain of salt.  But yeah. Scary!!!!

I suppose it wasn't a mistake.  Now I have three months to dewussify myself to hills.  Besides being a stress case (which is my A#1 weakness as a runner, hands down!), hill running is probably my second biggest weakness as a runner.  I do not possess a lot of strength when it comes to anything other than a nice flat pristine road course.  Since I've been up and running post-pregnancy, I've been running a lot of hills.  I used to avoid hills because I was afraid of getting injured or something. You know, I'm not exactly sure why I avoided big hills when I was training before.  Looking back now it seems so dumb and like a huge wasted opportunity to become stronger. Anyway, after the pregnancy I was so slow and had nothing to lose so I hit the hills and let me tell you something--these hills that I used to think were monster hills are nothing! I can't believe I was afraid of them or thought that they were so so so so terrible.  And I'll tell you something else--I started throwing in more incline on my treadmill runs too and I can feel myself getting stronger and better capable of handling the hills.  

Now, throwing in a little 3% incline on my treadmill runs every other .25 miles is not going to prepare me for this half marathon.  I was talking to mrp the other night about how to get ready for them. I asked him what he thought of a workout where I did something like 4 x 90 second hill reps followed by 2 miles at tempo pace or subbing out my intervals for hills. Sensible ol' mrp just laughed at me.  "No," he said. "Don't overdo it. Just run more hills in general.  A race is just like a regular run, only harder. So, just run more hills on your regular runs."   Hmmm. Yeah. There is no hocus-pocus fancy hill workout that will magically make me a hill-running goddess. No, the key is to make hills unspecial.

So, with that in mind I decided to embark on my first 12 miler of the year on a course that used to scare me. The old me would have said, "it's you're first 12 miler. You better pick an easy course to ease back into things."  The new me said, "Those hills really aren't all that big of a deal.  Just take your time with them. Be consistent. Eventually, they will become eaiser."  Sure, the run was hard.  And sure, the pace was slow.  But, I conquered those hills and they really weren't nearly as bad as I feared. Sure my hammies and quads were talking to me the rest of the day, but that just means they're adapting. And like I said, if I keep it up it will get easier and I will be stronger! Plus, once I take out the fear-factor, it's a lot of fun to run big used-to-be nasty hills!

Last weeks numbers!

Mon: 7.5 miles with DD downtown (8:34) (love my downtown running buddies!!!)
Tue: 7 with E and DD downtown with 10 x 30 second strides thrown in throughout (8:19) (I somehow managed to keep up with E for most of the strides, although she was probably just being nice!)
Wed: 6.5 with E, DD and Jen downtown in a beautiful spring-like day! (9:15ish) (I am really enjoying these easy easy days with the girls!)
Thu: 7.25 with E and DD downtown on another warm day (8:50ish)
Fri: off (spent the entire say with peanut!)
Sat: 8.25 alone outside with 6 x 20 strides at the end (8:40's) (felt like a slug.)
Sun: 12 alone: 4 to the park; 4 on the trails at the park; and 4 home. (8:49) (felt like a slug for the first 4 but once I hit the trails I felt a lot better. Yeah trails!)

Total: 48.25
Weight: Still at 141. Damn cookies!

On tap for this week: a fartlek and a tempo! Progress!

*Both mrp and peanut are saying, "We're not afraid of hills!"



Clare said...

i also need to dewussify. i love that word.

JenC said...

You keep running those downtown runs in the flats and hills will be no big deal. We certainly ran some good ones today! Good times!

jsmarslender said...

Good work! I'm missing my hills. Treadmill inclines don't seem the same.

Mnowac said...

Oh now give yourself some credit. You are a billy goat on those big hills on the trails at North Chagrin :) You have it in you! I'm sure you will kick ass in that race.