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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Even the hills have hills

So I'm trying to suck it up. I'm trying to tell myself to get over the fear of 10 miles with heat and hills. I can do the race. I probably won't have 10:30 min/miles but I can do it.

I wonder if this fear eventually leaves you. I suppose it does since I don't hear many runners who have been at this a while have these arguments with themselves over whether or not they can do it - to them it's more of a "can I beat my PR?" Since every race right now is my own PR (since I've never done it before) that's not my worry. It's getting past the old me that never pushed herself to do something that was hard.

So after buying my new shoes and talking with my old trainer at Fleet Feet I figured it would be a good test to have a long run on a more hilly area. I knew to cut back my overall miles a little bit since I haven't done anything longer than 3 miles over the past couple of weeks. So I chose one of our local parks who's path is a good workout even if you just walk and it has one "HILL" that everybody dreads. I figured out how to get 5 miles out of it and went for it.

It wasn't hot but it was very humid (it had been raining all day and was threatening to rain again at any moment). I was drenched in sweat and my breath and heart rate were higher than normal. I took my water belt with me because I knew I would need it. There's water fountains at the trail heads but to go in and back is 2 miles.

I started off running along the main road rather than tackling "THE HILL" right from the start. But running along the main road was uphill too (just not as drastic). But it was fine because I knew that coming back (when I was more tired) it would be a nice downhill end to my run. I crossed paths with another gal that was running and it was good to see someone else drenched in sweat. I noticed that I was huffing and puffing a lot sooner than normal.

I got off of the main run and started running through the trail and it was just gorgeous. This is all forested area and with our tremendous amount of rain this spring it is currently very lush. There were only a few people on the trail and going out to the end point turned out to have more downhills than uphills - which I realized after I thought, "well hey that wasn't so bad!" On the way back I thought, "Do I really need to go 5 miles? Really?" But I knew that if I went down "THE HILL" and back up again then I'd be forced to do another 2 mile loop and by that point finishing the last 1/2 mile wouldn't be so bad (since it was downhill after all). So at the bottom of "THE HILL" I grabbed some water from the fountain, emptied out my bladder, mopped the sweat off my brow, noticed how red I looked and wondered if I always looked like that when I ran, then I found an inspirational song on the iPod and headed back UP "THE HILL."

I used a trick my trainer told me and kept my head down and didn't focus on how high it was or how much further I had to go. I didn't go very fast at all but I still kept a jogging gait. I got about 80% through it when it started to get REALLY hard. I made it all the way to the top but the last few feet were torture. I let myself walk for about 100 feet or so and then started jogging again.

Overall I had 3 breaks during the 5 miles so it was a much slower jog than normal but my goal wasn't to do this fast. It was to get through the hills and see how it felt to do a long run after not doing one since my 10k race.

As for Precious - well I could feel my right toe rubbing and I was starting to get a blister on the inside of my left heel. I'll give Precious one more run but am willing to take her back because for $125 I want perfect shoes. But the good news was that my right shin didn't hurt at all after the run which makes me think that it was my Nikes and not a stress fracture. But I'm still keeping an eye on things.

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