June 4, 2012

don't avoid the hills

I have an incredibly bad habit.  When I plan a route for a run?  I avoid as many hills as possible, and if I can swing it I run only on flat or downhill paths.  Obviously you can't always be going down, but I've definitely found a few routes were I encounter an extremely limited number of noticeable hills.  But after Saturday?  I think it is about time I kick that habit in the butt.

Saturday I ran the Hospital Hill 10K, and I can honestly say it is the first race I haven't felt good about, really at all.  Sure, I still finished in 53:44.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Under a nine minute per mile pace.  But I most certainly could have finished faster than that by at least two minutes,  if not more.  That may not sound like much, but I know had I done some training on hills, I would have been much MUCH more prepared to take them on.

pre-race with my running buddy of the day

Really I have just been slacking on my training in general lately.  Instead of running 4-5 times a week, I'm struggling to make myself do three decent runs a week.  Strength training is completely missing from my schedule.  Part of it is because we've been so busy, and part of it is just because my heart isn't in it right now.  I still love running, and the thrill of finishing a race keeps me coming back.  But I am so incredibly sick of the treadmill, yet I can't convince myself to get out of bed at 5am so I can run outside.  Oy.  Hopefully having something new to focus on (hill training) will help motivate me.  I have no doubt that I will see improvements in my running if I can strengthen my legs in that department.

But back to the race for a minute.  Like I said, I was not prepared for the hills in the race.  There were several, and it wasn't just a slight incline.  Nope, there were some pretty tough ones.  The only good thing about big hills?  It means you just might get a good downhill too.  And the race definitely had some.  For about the first mile and a half it was just slight rolling hills.  Enough to spread everyone out, but not so bad it was hurting.  My plan was to run around an 8:30 pace the whole time, but we hit the first mile at 7:50.  Whoops.  Strike two (strike one being the lack of hill training).  Because the race was so large it is corralled.  I was put in C, and Jenny (the cute blonde in the photo above :o) was supposed to be in D.  You weren't supposed to move up, but you could move back.  So we decided we were going to start in the front of D.  Well with no one in front of me I just took off.  Not to mention that is the pace I'd run my last two races at (but those runs were shorter, and had no hills...).

I think we started going up around the 1.5 mile mark, and continued to climb somewhat over the next mile.  That KILLED me.  I couldn't catch my breath and I knew I was going too fast for me, especially considering my lack of running over the last few weeks.  I think we were still maintaining an 8 minute mile at that point.  There was a bit of a downhill, and I started to feel a little better.  We passed the third mile marker and I thought I'd be ok.  And then we came to the split between the 10K and the Half Marathon.

Jenny laughed that she was so happy to be turning and heading back in.  But all I saw was the steep incline we had to climb.  I almost wanted to run with the half marathoners, just so I could go downhill for a bit longer (almost).  I couldn't make it to the top of the hill.  I stopped to walk.  Jenny walked with me for a bit.  We ran a little more, walked through a water station, and kept running.  And then there was another hill.  Thankfully this time Jenny just took off.  I walked a little more.  At this point I was feeling a little tingly and shaky.  I think it was the first time I've ever thought I might not finish a race.  But when I crossed the five mile mark I was determined to run it in.  I think there was one more hill that I didn't quite make it up running, but for the most part the last 1.2 miles were downhill.

Saturday I said I'd never sign up for that race again, but today?  Today I'd like to train on some hills, and give it another go.  If you know how to attack the hills, the downhill is awesome, and I'd say it all evens out.  Maybe next year I'll be able to kick some butt at it, who knows.  But I'm guessing next year it won't be 53 degrees in June...

and post race... surprisingly I look better than I felt!  I also swear I don't have a bad spray tan...

So yea.  53:44.  12/173 in my division.  63/953 females.  237/1532 overall.  Not too shabby, but not what I was hoping for.  But now I know what I need to work on.

Link up your health and fitness related posts below!


Amy said...

Girl that race is HARD! I did the
5K last year, and those hills are no joke! That is still a great time and you should be proud of yourself!

CoreysGal said...

OK, so I don't run and I am not a SAHM but with that said, I have a suggestion! Maybe if you have any other SAHM runner friends, you could link up once or twice a week where you take turns getting in an outside run while the other one watches your kiddos. Even better, do it at nap time so neither of you truly even has to babysit! I don't know, just a thought to help get you running outside and enjoying it more. :)

Nicole said...

Hey, I'm proud of you. I signed up to do both Rock the Parkway and the Trolley Run but right before Rock the Parkway I found out I was pregnant. This time around my first trimester was a lot more rough so I didn't do either run. :( Now that the school year is over I'm trying to get back out there and run before my husband has to go to work but it is H.A.R.D. I don't know if it's because I took a little break during my first trimester so I'm out of shape or if some of it is the pregnancy. I'm a little sad because I was in kickass shape this winter when I ran my 1/2 marathon in Phoenix. But, I know I'll get back into it. I look forward to your move it posts. Sure, they sometimes make me feel a little guilty and jealous :) but I also feel proud of you and motivated to someday be the runner I was.

Amber said...

I'll echo the others and remind you that that is still a GREAT time. Really.

And believe you me, a little work on the hills and you will be so glad you did it. Your body bounces back quick. Just remember when you get to the top to keep running and concentrate on your breathing.

I always chant in my head, "Give it a minute, breathe in, breathe out, your body will bounce back."

And it always does!