The Road to the Half: Hilly Run
Today’s run needed to be five miles, and after a slow to rise morning, it was time to face the music and get out there and get it done. I did a “vanilla” five miler yesterday with my dog, meaning, I didn’t try to do anything special with the run (other than minimize my dog’s need to stop, smell and pee on everything).
Today I wanted to do a hilly run. After my four miler last week where I used the big hill in our park and pushed myself, I noticed I definitely saw some improvements in both stamina and speed. Everyone tells you that part of training needs to be “hill work” along with “speed work” so today I set out for the hill again.
I left my house at about 7:45 and needed to be back by 9:05 or 9:10 at the latest to get my son to his 10:00 appointment on time. I don’t know if that pushed me a little bit as I started, but at the five minute mark I was a bit faster than I normally am (then again, it could have been that I didn’t have the dog).
I went up my street, and turned the corner away from the park. This is all uphill, about 70 ft climb. After that, I went down another side street towards the entrance to the park that is furthest away from my house. I needed to clock in miles as well as hills. After the bit of the uphill, at about the mile mark you get a serious downhill. I love this part, but just as you get to the park entrance, you hit the first big hill. A quick fifty foot climb left me out of breath as I entered the park, but I didn’t walk.
Into the park, I enjoyed the super flat drive for about half a mile before I started the loop around our little lake. This is hillier, but nothing huge. I felt a little winded at this point, I was about half way done. But I kept on keeping on, reminding myself that the big hill was still in my future, that this was nothing. A loop around the lake, a few rolling hills and then it was time to tackle the Big Hill.
The Big Hill is about 3/4 of a mile long and a 100 foot elevation climb. I surprised myself with being able to run the whole first section of it; it was either less of a climb to start than I remembered or maybe I have improved, not sure. But finally, I had to slow to a walk and start mapping out trees to stop and start at. I did four intervals of running and walking as I made it up the hill, allowing myself a little bit of walking at the top.
From there I had about .75 of a mile left to get to five miles, but surprisingly, even though I had walked some of the hill, I was on par with yesterday’s run in terms of time. I continue to be amazed that sometimes “easy” runs are actually harder or slower than supposedly “harder” runs. I jogged out of the park, looped the nearby (and thankfully mostly flat) neighborhood, before making the final turn towards home.
I made it home by 8:50 and had plenty of time to cool down and shower before leaving for my son’s appointment. 🙂