Tag Archives: hill training

Never Let a Roll of the Dice Decide Your Fate

4 Sep

Magic eight.

Eight is the number that was rolled last Thursday morning as we sat at the foot of a small Florida hill (technically some might call it an “incline”). To my chagrin, we did not roll a snake eyes.

What were we doing with a pair of dice on one of our morning runs? We certainly weren’t playing any board games.

It seems that I cannot miss any morning runs, because when I do, I come back to hear preposterous ideas like “Hey, let’s let the roll of the dice decide how many hill repeats we should do on Thursday mornings!”

And then something even more preposterous happens like an eight is rolled. Magic eight. *Sigh*

So eight times up, and eight times down we went.

Here’s how the experience looked in my head:

  • Hill Repeat #1: Alright let’s do this.
  • Hill Repeat #2: Good God! We’re only on the second repeat? There’s no way I can do this!
  • Hill Repeat #3: Hey, whose idea was this?
  • Hill Repeat #4: Seriously, whose ideas was this??
  • Hill Repeat #5: That was only halfway?
  • Hill Repeat #6: Wait, what repeat are we on?
  • Hill Repeat #7: (cursing starts) @#%#$!
  • Hill Repeat #8: You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.

Here’s how the experience looked via my friend’s tracking device:

Count the peaks and weep with me: 8

Needless to say, I’m very sorry that I’m going to be on vacation this week and unable to join this Thursday’s AM run…

Do you ever play games to get you through your runs? 

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Whose Idea Was This?

19 Feb

Me, at the top of a Clermont hill.

That’s mainly what I was asking myself at the top of the hill in this photo.

You see, our training schedule for the Flying Pig Marathon called for a 10-mile long run yesterday on hills, which our group ran in semi-hilly Apopka. But then someone suggested we also run seven or so miles in much more hillier Clermont this morning. I’m not sure whose idea this was, but I know it wasn’t mine and I think it was a horrible idea.

Our Apopka hill run yesterday morning ended up being just under nine miles, which was fine by me. It was a muggy morning and I spent most of it thinking about coffee and breakfast.

Our group has started to name our runs. One of our group leaders, Sue, is particularly talented at this and I think she hit it right on the nail when she dubbed our run The Apopka Run featuring Ganja. This was prompted from an impromptu turn down a new street at the end of our run, which resulted in us catching a whiff of some pot being smoked in the wee hours of the morning. This likely did not help my munchies.

Here are stats from the run:

  • Distance: 8.74 miles
  • Time: 1:51:55
  • Avg Pace: 12:48/mile
  • 5:1 intervals

Fast forward to this morning. I had contemplated skipping the Clermont hill run, mainly because I thought it was ludicrous to run two days of hills in a row. However, after last week’s Fail Hill run, I wanted a second chance at it. So, I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed this morning, threw on some running clothes and drove out to Clermont. Let’s just say that my disposition this morning was not quite as sunny as yesterday’s.

I have no official stats to share because I forgot my watch. But I can tell you this:

  • Distance: somewhere over 7 miles
  • Time: forever
  • Avg Pace: snail-like
  • 5:1 intervals plus extra walk breaks thrown in for good measure (and survival)

Clermont apparently did not get the memo that Florida does not have hills. And to my dismay, the Clermont hills were brutal. At least it gave us a nice change of scenery and I got to get some fun pics along the way:

Going downhill

BP water break

My view when I turned around going uphill

Had to get a pic of the lake

Because every front yard should have a lion statue

I'm not scurred

I skipped breakfast at Cracker Barrel after our run, opting for a Starbucks breakfast on the rode and a long shower instead. And then I napped, which I rarely do mid-day. It’s been hours and I’m still wiped out.

What’s your favorite (or least favorite) hill run?

Fail Hill

14 Feb

Since I missed Saturday’s run to make an airport drop, I decided to run a 7.7 mile course in hilly Clermont early Sunday morning.

When I woke  up it was a chilly 36 degrees and it felt like 27 degrees. It took us almost an hour to get to our meeting spot in Clermont and when we got there saw that it was even colder there. Brrr…

Our small group of Marathonfest runners utilized layers to the max. I myself wore running tights, a singlet, my long-sleeved Disney marathon shirt, a pullover, a ski cap and gloves. I was still freezing.

For me, getting out in the cold is the hardest part of a cold run. Once I warm up after a few minutes, it’s usually great from there. I thought this would be one of those mornings.

Unfortunately halfway into our first mile, I started to feel dull cramps. By the end of the mile, my cramps had gotten worse. I realized that if I ran to far and the pain became unbearable (which is often the case for me), I would be stuck walking over three miles in the freezing cold to the car. I finally spoke up.

There were only three of us on the run from our group: me and my two group leaders Sue and Emily, both of whom had run 14 miles the morning before.  When I mentioned my concerns, they quickly agreed to call it a run and go get some warm coffee and breakfast instead. I felt bad, but I knew I was better off playing it safe. Sue captured the great pic above of me and Emily surrendering and heading back to our cars. What group support!

As we drove to breakfast I thought to myself, “So long hills of Clermont, til we meet again!”

I ended up walking back into my house around 9:30 AM, and after breakfast, coffee and Advil my pain had subsided. I felt up to running again but didn’t want to commit to a longer distance since I didn’t know how my body would react.  I decided to see how fast I could run a 5k.

My fastest 5k PR is somewhere just under 31 minutes, but that was a couple of years ago when I was running shorter distances at faster speeds (for me that is). Since then my 5k times have increased to the 34 minute region, so I’ve been working on cutting that down again.

Sunday’s self-imposed 5k time trial brought me in at 31:32.64. I managed to maintain an average of 10:10/mile and it felt good!

With good time spent with friends over breakfast and a encouraging 5k trial time, it looks like Sunday’s run wasn’t such a fail after all. And I very much look forward to returning to Clermont for some serious hill running in the near future!

When was the last time an ailment stopped you mid-run?

Hills, Groundhogs and the Most Inspiring Video

2 Feb

In the efforts of working on both my speed and strength, I’ve decided to rejoin the Marathonfest Thursday morning training sessions. I’ve been running with the ladies Tuesdays and Thursdays, but decided I could benefit from the Thursday hill and tempo workouts. The good news is, I can still join them for coffee afterwards (which I did this morning).

My goal for this morning was to run the 3.4-mile loop with hill repeats without taking any walk intervals. I was able to accomplish this goal. Since I remembered to bring my borrowed Garmin this morning, I actually have stats:

  • Distance: 3.34 miles
  • Time: 37:15.71
  • Avg Pace: 11:09/mi

Back when I trained for my half marathons, I would average around a 10:45/mi pace for shorter runs and 11:18/mi for the half marathon. My Disney Marathon pace was 13:22/mi and I hope to get that down to at least 12:00/mi for Flying Pig.

Going up hills you can usually find me muttering to myself. I tend say things like “dig deep” and “you can do this” and my favorite: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This was one of the bible verses my mom had us say before bed every night growing up and it’s always stuck with me. This morning was no exception. Unfortunately, you can usually also hear curse words flying out of my mouth during tough runs. I tend to have the mouth of a sailor. I try my hardest not to curse around the bible verse.

When I got home this morning I saw that a friend had posted this video. Watch it and tell me you don’t get the chills watching it. Tell me your whole being didn’t get excited at the end. Tell me you weren’t inspired. I think I actually clapped at the end and shouted. My dogs must think I’m weird (thought they have no room to judge).

And today’s Groundhog Day. For those of you in the colder regions, I hope the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow!

How did you feel when you watched the video I link to above?

Running Field Trip: The Hills of Apopka

29 Jan

Yesterday morning, us Marathonfest runners took our first field trip of the training season: the hills of Apopka.

Just mention the words “hill training” to me and I tend to cringe. I’m the kinda girl that considers a speed bump a “small hill” and typically go out of my way to avoid any road inclines.

And yes, this is how I feel even though I’m told they will make me stronger. They will only make me stronger if they don’t kill me first.

So why does running hills suck so badly? I think this article from Runner’s World answers it well: “You have to recruit more muscle fibers to get yourself up the hill, which causes those muscles to fatigue faster,” says Carwyn Sharp, Ph.D., assistant professor of exercise science at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. On the bright side, keep doing hills and eventually your body adapts and gets stronger.

Since the Flying Pig Marathon has hills, I figured it was time to change my attitude. It’s either conquer them in training or face them unprepared on race day. So for the time being, when I hear the words “hill training” I will feign a “yeah!”

We started our run yesterday morning at 6 AM in Apopka. The street lights aren’t as plentiful out there and the roads were dark. Combined with the fog, it looked like a scene from a scary movie.

At least you could see our shoe reflectors:

Since I’m trying to work on my speed, I set out to keep up with the faster runners in our group. For the first 6.5 mile loop, I felt great! The hills were beasts, but I trudged up them, one foot after the other. However, towards the end of that loop I started to feel light-headed. I made sure to refuel with some Chocolate #9 agave gel.

For the second loop (only 4.5 miles) my energy level evened out. But around mile 8, my IT band started to lock up. Suddenly it felt like I was on mile 20 of the marathon and I had trouble bending my left knee. Rather than push myself through unnecessary pain (it’s just a training run) I decided to call it a day and walk the rest of the run out. The entire way back I lectured myself in my head for not doing more strength training in my legs. But at least I had a good 7.5 miles of hill running under my belt.

Lucky for me, I was sore by 5 PM. I guess I should’ve taken an ice bath, but with such low mileage it just hadn’t occurred to me. But at least the hills didn’t kill me. Well, at least this time.

Here are some more pictures from the run:

This hill was a beast.

My group running uphill. We had to be on the special lookout for cars, since they'll pop up over the hill.

With all the fog it was like we were running in a scary movie.

Farmhouse engulfed by fog

Do you run hills? If so, do you like it, or do it begrudgingly for the benefits?