Wednesday, February 6, 2013

all those other runs...

You know, the ones most runners DON'T want to talk about. The one that you feel like hell through and you just want to throw in the towel quickly erasing them from your memory.

Yeah, those runs.

Well, I've had A LOT of them lately.

Honestly, I don't really expect much at this time from my running or body because I realize that it is just plain crazy to think that I could step back from focused training for 6+ months to get back at it like it's all a breeze and I haven't lost any fitness. It hasn't been, and I've lost quite a bit. Building my mileage back up has been challenging where these days I'm sitting pretty happy right around 40 mpw.

It's been a slow and often times sluggishly frustrating build.
Just a non-stop pursuit of one foot steadily planted on the ground before the other takes flight.

Most of my runs have been very unimpressive, challenging, and of the same monotonously dull pace. Seems only logical that when I headed out the door today with my scratchy-raw-winter throat for my first loosely "focused" speed work since August (or even April/May 2012 for that matter) that things weren't going to be all gumdrops and rainbows. They weren't, and I feel physically slow compared to where my mind thinks my fitness level currently is.

Not such a big deal as fitness peaks are meant to come and go, and as long as the mind is sharp thats really all that matters. 

Eventually it'll come back. Just a long and slow road ahead before I can even dream about making progress or shooting for any PR's.

Keeping things exciting for myself by taking on one of my most dreaded of all things...
Inclines and hills.
Ew.

Running on the lakefront for nearly a decade made me tough in regards to handling all different types of weather, but soft in the elevation change category. The Chicago lakefront is quite possibly the flattest path to ever exist and has maybe a 50 ft elevation change along the almost 20 miles it covers. It's wonderful. Out here in the uncivilized world that I'm now living in, there seem to be lots of short climbs that to me seem like giant never ending hills making my heart want to beat out of my chest.

That run was a doozy

Doesn't look like much, but always gets me


What can I say? I'm a sucker for flat and fast.

Even though I'm feeling lightyears away from where I was last year at this time, feeling good about my 40 mpw average and know that there is only up to go from here.
Plenty of hard work and patience ahead.

Hills/Inclines...love em or hate em?

19 comments:

  1. I'm used to them because I train in a Chicago suburb with plenty of hills. Can be daunting at times. Hang in there. :)

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    1. what suburb are you in Lillian? I don't think that the hills I'm talking about probably classify as real hills, but they feel like hills to me!

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    2. I live in Wauconda. Keep on doing what you do! You are an inspiration!!

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  2. you are a rock star. I come from the land of flat - AZ. Thank goodness my TM does hills or I'd be screwed.

    you are amazing girl.

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  3. I'm with you. Flat and fast all the way. I loathe hills. But they're a necessary evil. There's some good ones out in Cary, Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills...

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    1. will possibly be pacing a friend for a half out in cary in mid-march, kinda worried that the hills may slow me down which is one reason i've been trying to do rolling routes. nothing worse than a pacer slowing down the person shooting for a pr!

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  4. I am right there with you. I had to take some time off in the fall and I am so freakin' slow now and it's driving me crazy. I keep doing intervals but it doesn't seem to be helping...boo. I am not really a fan of hills, but I run them because I know I should.

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    1. the intervals will catch up with you sooner or later, as long as you keep them varied. promise ;) in 2008 i had to take 9 months off running, and it took awhile for my endurance and speed to come back...like months, but eventually it did and i think my fitness improved more because i took that time off. keep at it beth! you'll be back in no time!

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  5. I live in a very hilly neighborhood. I assumed all of my hill running would translate to some fast times at sea level/flat lands, but in actuality I am terrible at flat and fast. There's something to be said for the give and take that hills provide -- they seem to break up the monotony for me. That being said, I embrace the treadmill for tempo workouts because I tend to give up when my pace is all over the place during hilly runs.

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  6. I enjoy doing hills, it definitely leads to an interesting run! There is a big hill/bridge on a trail that we frequently run on and the GPS doesn't pick up on the elevation change since it is a bridge. I did a 5k where we had to go up and down this bridge twice and it was pretty brutal (at least, for a 5k).

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  7. oooooh all those lovely hills to make you stronger and ultimately faster! I am jealous, I live in a very flat area and have just introduced a tiny but brutal incline on the treadmill to try to counteract how weak I am at climbing amongst other things. I got to enjoy lots of hills growing up in Scotland and never even noticed the toughest of climbs.
    Stick in there, it will get easier and you will reap the benefits!

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  8. I really hate hills. I hate them so much that I run up them as quickly as possible so that it'll be done. This has earned me a reputation for being a hills beast. But it's NOT because I like hills! It's because I HATE them! hahah!

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  9. I live in Golden Hill. No matter where I run, I will be going uphill on the way back. And it gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    I am not a fan of hills, but I appreciate that they make me stronger.

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  10. Hills is all I have in my hood. :) But today was just the treadmill and I felt like I was going to die at a pace that should have been easy so not sure what gives. I think I'd take my hills over the TM any day.

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  11. When I'm not running on the TM I have to run hills. If I want to avoid the hills I have to drive somewhere. I know the hills have made me a stronger runner & have helped me to build stronger legs. Instead of complaining or avoiding them I've learned to smile as I trudge up them. :)

    You're going to gain all your fitness back and some!! :)

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  12. Your graphs graphs crack me up! :-)

    Hills -I love them...until they add up and my calves or knees finally let out a squawk and say NO MORE. This happened recently, BTW.
    One secret for hills is to take shorter steps to save your knees and calves from strain, and lean toward the hill (learned this a bit late)

    Don't worry about the hills. Build your leg muscles and you will good to go!

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  13. That's one of the bad thins about blogs and social networks...people can write whatever they want, and often it's showing off their good runs. It's so easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to them and wanting the same for ourselves. Equally as frustrating and bad is comparing ourselves to ourselves. Keep it up...focus on one day at a time and you'll be back where you want to be!

    In regards to hills, I have a love hate relationship with them. I actually think I run better with mild hills, but there is definitely strategy involved....recognizing that you can't and won't run as fast going uphill as you will running flat. It drove me crazy when running Flying Pigs marathon last year when I had to slow down my pace by 45 seconds/mile for some of the hilly sections, but it totally paid off in the end. Sometimes it's better to NOT look at your Garmin and just run by feel.

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  14. Ah hills- I bet whenever you return to the lakefront in the future you will surprise yourself with some sort of kick butt run because of all the hills you run on. They are your frienemy! :)

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  15. Ha, ha--I'm with you--I'll admit that I prefer flat when I can get it. That said, I have lots of hills around here. It's tough to find an easy route when you need one. But--when you have to face a hilly race course, nothing will intimidate you after getting used to it.

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