|Cock a Doodle Doo|
The plan for today was to get the miles in and to also do some REAL hillwork. I've been practicing hills to try to get ready for Pasadena. There's a pretty decent mountain in central Phoenix called Camelback, and the streets near this mountain are the best bet around for building hill strength and experience. So the route I built has some mild rollers for the first three miles, then a flat stretch where I extended to about 7 miles. Then the ascent.
I've been eyeballing Tatum Blvd. going North for the past year as a hill challenge. I've only ever flirted with the very bottom 1/4 mile, but today, I was determined to crest the beast. Tatum goes up about one mile at a pretty decent grade before it flattens, then MacDonald goes East into a 1/2 mile mega-incline. This was tough, but I slowed my pace and got into my hill-chug "I Think I Can, I Think I Can" mode and turned around at the 9.1 mile mark. I had been thinking about the reward of the downhill after slugging through this uphill, and my pace was almost instantly fast.
|Crap. Now I'm going to have scary clown dreams tonight|
The Wall is a phenomenon in running when a person 'runs out of gas'. Technically, when we exercise, our bodies use oxygen to burn (oxidize) fats and other ready sources to meet our energy demands. But if we create too much of a demand by going too fast or too far (or both), our bodies build up lactic acid in the muscles (which feels sore) and we can't get enough energy to keep going because we can't get enough oxygen into our cells to burn stuff to create energy, so our brain tells us to stop or at least walk. If you've run in longer distance races, you have seen people walking with droopy shoulders, heads down, and legs dragging zombie-like. They have 'hit the wall'. The strange thing is that after a short walk, we usually feel like we can run again. But once we start to run, out bodies immediately revolt, and we have to walk. In races, it is a sad helpless thing to see (and experience). On Saturday mornings, it just looks like some guy out there running for the first time in his life. Graphically, it looks a lot like this:
|Those spikes are me walking|