Death by Hill Repeats!

Today I met up w/ Jeanne at Plaza Housing. Nola went w/ us since I couldn’t leave her at the COOP and go to a different base. I thought being in her stroller with some yummy snacks might subside any crying but I was wrong! We started w/ a great warm-up as always and just about the time my engines were really firing Jeanne tells me I’ll be doing 400m runs today… oh boy! Jeanne grabs Nola out of the stroller and I take off!

Well of course in order to run UP a hill I will first need to be at the BOTTOM! So I shuffle/jog 200m to the bottom and at an old guard gate (see the little tan shack in the picture above – that’s where I turn) turn around and immediately sprint back 200m up the long (and I mean L-O-N-G! see picture below for the uphill view) hill, curve to the right at the top and there is Jeanne and she coaches me to dig in and then says, “now hit it hard and run all the way to the front of my car!” Wait…wait… but I just ran UP the hill – aren’t I done? Nope – not even close… 

At this point Nola has settled in and made friends with Jeanne which lets me completely focus.

So I reach the cars and grab my water and blow my nose (I’m one of those runners where everything leaks from their face when I’m really pushing myself… so I spit, drool and if I don’t have something to blow my nose with I will eventually have snot on my face!). Then I can hear Jeanne calling for me to keep moving… but I really just want to walk this off! Okay – so that’s not an option – I gotta keep pushing. So I do my recovery shuffle run 200m back to the guard shack and turn to tackle that hill for round #2. It is here that I seriously fade into the black – mentally. I’m really thinking that this is too hard but I keep pressing on. By Round #3 I really want to quit but there’s Jeanne at the curve in the road really motivating me. She’s keeping me focused on my body and how I’m handling each stride. Mentally I’m still in the black. I seriously wonder how many people just toss up their hands and quit this stinkn’ hard ass hill! I know there has got to be someone – I hope – because I would hate to be the first!

So round #4 I am telling myself this is the last one and for some reason it doesn’t seem to make me feel any better or push any harder (and it wasn’t the last one but mentally I was done). It’s always after I think I’ve topped the hill that I realize I haven’t reached the end and then Jeanne tells me to “hit it hard and finish strong in 5, 4, 3, 2, GO SARAH! YOU CAN DO THIS!” And by round #5 I actually believed her and I did kick it into gear for the last hill repeat and I feel great because I know that I really did give it all I had – I came out of the black and really dug in.

I am really starting to see that everything I have read about running, which was actually written by a runner, says that it’s 90% mental and about 10% physical and how right they are. I am figuring this out one painstaking workout at a time! I know I have to have a good physically tough foundation to be able to endure the marathon miles but I really need to be mentally prepared to cheer myself on and really stay focused. Today was not my best show of mental toughness – I still need to find my “happy place” for these sorts of challenges to my body.

So – I’ve had a headache most of the day – I am drinking lots of water but just can’t seem to shake it. Overall, my body isn’t hurting too bad right now but we’ll see how tomorrow morning feels!

Training Updates for today:

Active stretch…warm-up – practicing those push-ups!  Sit-ups, high knee skips, backwards jog, jump rope.  While concentrating on warming up the muscles to be used for the sprints, exercises were aimed at core work, while increasing your heart rate and increasing your core body temp gradually

Workout:  30 minutes of hill repeats, where 200m downhill was used as a recovery period, 200m uphill were sprints.  Total sprint time today was about 10 minutes (the rest was the recovery jog)

After thoughts: What I really failed to utilize here was my recovery time. Probably on the very last 200m shuffle down I realized that the answers were in the directions (like w/ most things). Jeanne was telling me to make that recovery mine – use it – go slow. And all I could think about was just getting to the bottom. Well, that and the fact that I kept feeling like I had to pee and I was scoping out spots in the bushes that I thought maybe I could squat in…but that was a distraction from the real problem – NOT LISTENING to what Jeanne was telling me. I under utilized my recovery time but this is a learning experience in lots of ways and I will make sure I never do that again!

Conveniently enough in my email inbox this afternoon there was a RW email w/ info on The Magic of Running Mantras!

I will see you again Plaza Hill!

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