Dear Hill Repeats: It's been 18 years since we met. I still hate you. You are physically and emotionally abusive. But I know I will keep returning to you.... because you make everything else feel so good. Pass the Advil.And then this:
Dear Phoebe: You're an idiot and I can't believe you still buy it when I tell you "so, don't run faster, just pump your arms harder." I own you, woman. Love, Hill Repeats
So yeah, I did my first hill workout since high school today. We are talking 18 years between this torture. We are talking about 1/2 of my life. Oh, what a morning!
Don't get me wrong. I run plenty of hills. There's no way NOT to run hills around here. But today I was scheduled to run 3 miles and I just couldn't face the same old route. It's been over a year since I took up running again with seriousness and I'm already in danger of burning out. So, instead, I decided to run hill repeats for 30-odd minutes. At 5:30 this morning I jogged to the bottom of Banfield Road, which is just behind my house. I don't know exactly how long the road is. A little over 1/2 mile, I think. I jogged to the bottom, adjusted my husband's iPod (it had creeped down my high security sports bra and was perilously hanging below my waist line), and cranked my way back up the hill. It was hard. It was really really hard. I didn't run the whole 1/2 mile back up. Instead I ran to where the hill flattened out (maybe 1/4 mile?), turned around, drank some water, and jogged back down. I repeated this 3 more times.
I had forgotten how exhausting this kind of thing is. Sounds dumb, doesn't it? I run 4 days a week for most of the year. I know what running feels like. But, oh, the humanity! The burning lungs. The legs and arms so brim with lactic acid you feel like your bones are going to melt.... (acid melts things, right?) The adjusting of the stride and eye gaze in an effort to psych yourself into making it to the totally fictitious and completely self-imposed finish line. In this case, I knew I had gone far enough when I had a view of the incredible crescent moon which was hiding just behind the very-tall-but-almost-dead pine tree.
I was dragging like crazy on the last trip up the hill and reverted back to a trick I learned in my first year of Varsity track, which for me started in seventh grade. Some one said to me, "Fine, don't run faster, just pump your arms faster." It really worked. Whaddayaknow?
I have to say this whole endeavor was made far easier because of the iPod. I never used to run with music. I kind of thought it was cheating. If I was listening to tunes then I wasn't taking my workout seriously. I am SO glad I got over that idea. Today I had "Defying Gravity" and "Hey Soul Sister" and so many other songs that I like and find inspiring chugging me up and down the hill. (That being said, the cable to my iPod Shuffle is missing so I can't charge it... Woe to me the day Scott and his iPod are not around when I have to hit the road.)
According to Runner's World, this workout was good for me because it taxes my legs and arms to push harder and my little muscle fibers are now repairing and getting stronger. Great news! Of course, according to Runner's World, I still only burned about 300 calories (probably less since I don't weigh too much)... the same as if I WALKED 3 miles instead.
All this, I'm hoping, will make an "easy 6" feel like an "easy 6" tomorrow at 5AM.