Sunday, March 4, 2012

Slope = Rise Over Run

This morning's long run made me think about hills that are soul-crushing steep vs. those long slight rises that people in Phoenix refer to as hills. My typical long route starts out very flat, rises slightly over 5 miles, peaks at about the 5 mile mark, descends ever so slightly over the next few miles, and I'm not sure after that because I've only run further a few times and had to retreat to my inner Jeffy safe zone when I did.
Boy ants can carry a lot of... OUCH OWIE OWIE OUCH OUCH OUCH!!!
To put this in perspective, I ran it through the trusty Mapmyrun application and found that the route rises 100 feet between mile 1 and 2 and another 35 feet until it peaks. Not exactly Heartbreak Hill. So why does it seem so ominous when looking up and seeing a steady rising for as far as the eye can see, and, conversely, feeling huge relief when returning and the basking in the feeling that I am in some running dream where all is effortless and fast, the temperature is always around 45 degrees, and the SUAR's of our world only shit in established bathrooms?

I have a 20K race planned for March that includes some of the most challenging hills available in Phoenix at South Mountain park. This 12.4 mile race starts out with 2.5 miles uphill, then goes downhill for a looooong time, and you guessed it, turns around and comes right back up that hill. I ran it last year, and remember walking quite a bit on the uphill while 8 year old kids flew by me pushing double jogging strollers. What ARE they putting in milk these days? My plan this year is to include the race as part of my hill training plan, and to mentally capture a positive hillattitude. My term. Do not try to claim it Nitmos, you already have "Nitmos".

I'm running in the Pasadena 1/2 marathon in May, and there are a couple of doozie hills on the route. You run downhill to to the Rose bowl and then miles 6.5 to 9.5 are right back up that MF'er of a hill. Then the survivors cruise down a slight hill to the finish. So, to do well, I have to practice/train on some hills, and the ones around here are polarized into: long and gradual and short and steep. But they will pretty much prepare me at least mentaly for the challenge. I'm trying to break the 2:00 barrier this year in the Half marathon. My current 1/2 marathon best is 2:10, so if I can cut it down to 2:05 in this race, I'll be well on my way to a sub 2:00 by December. But I have to be ready for the hills.
Pasadena Half Marathon Elevation

Oooohhhh sexy!
My running has been improving since Jan. 1. And except for one "cheat desert", I've been sweets free since the beginning of the year and have lost a whopping 14 pounds. Running seems easier at this weight, and the times are greatly improved. I've also been running more miles than ever and feel pretty good about the progress. My legs are feeling pretty good. Normal wear and tear of 20+ mile weeks, but my toes on the left side are getting trashed again. It's just 2 and 3, and though they look bad, only the second toe hurts when I pee. So, while I have seen major improvements in pace and weekly distances, I need to ensure that I am challenging myself with some hills. What do you do you use to prepare for hills? Is one hill workout per week enough to really get ready? Is it a mental thing? Are safe spankings a part of your "routine"?

1 comment:

Christina said...

Running hills weekly will put you in awesome shape for your races. I'm training for a hilly course and head to South Mountain and run up to Dobbins point every 2-3 weeks. I learned running that hill weekly leaves me injured because of the steepness.