Monday, May 27, 2013

Embracing Hills (and Great Weather)

Friday workout: 5 miles, 10:52 average, Pace Gloves
Saturday workout: 8 miles, 12:00 average, socks; movie of the week was Martha Marcy May Marlene. It was great, although I'm a sucker for any movie that claims to be about a cult. I can't help but think the movie would have been more successful if it had had another name. I can't remember it for the life of me.
Sunday workout: 10 hilly miles, 10:09 average, Pace Gloves
Monday workout: 7 miles, 10:52 average, Pace Gloves


I'm going to keep this brief because we're enjoying the best weather I've had the privilege of experiencing in, no joke, 6 years. You don't get weather like this on the East Coast. It's warm (it was 86 in the sun a couple of days ago and has been solidly in the 70s since, like, Thursday), but you're able to be out in it for more than five seconds without having to duck into a Duane Reade to get your sweat situation under control.

All the trees are blooming and everyone's out in their finest, including the crazy lady wearing a leopard-print thong bikini and high heels while watering her yard with a hose. She may be the best thing I've ever seen, and that is only a slight exaggeration.

This week's total mileage was 49, and its theme was "hills." Sub-theme: trails. After a somewhat rude awakening, I realized my hill training has been woefully inadequate (averaging 30 feet of elevation gain per run does not a hill runner make) and vowed to add a significant number of them to my FOUR remaining weeks of training (!!). So far, it's worked out great! All of my "hard" runs (strength, tempo, and long) have included a fair amount of elevation gain...

I did an out-and-back to this place for my 10-miler yesterday, which resulted in a surprising 762 feet of gain. You never notice the hills when you're driving them!


... while my easier runs have been, well, easy flat. I plan to continue this pattern in the weeks to come. I think it's important to run hills on tired legs and at harder efforts, and to make sure my easy runs are kept as easy as possible to allow for maximum recovery.

For today's easy 7 miles, I went back to the trail portion of my marathon to further familiarize myself with the area. Since it's a holiday and she was stalking me from room to room hyperventilating because she wanted to go with me so badly, I took Bailey. I knew this meant we would be stopping frequently because she's a pain in the ass, but since it was a recovery day I didn't really mind. Plus, she had so much fun. I was worried she'd overheat so let her play in water for a minute or two every time we passed some.

Dirty bogs make dirty dogs.

We ALSO ventured a bit farther than last time because I was dying to check out this alleged gravel situation. We, um, totally "had a permit" to access the restricted military land, so did a very quick reconnaissance mission. After a half mile or so, we hit a gravel road. For anyone doing Mayor's Marathon (no one who reads this blog, I'm sure), it isn't that bad. At all. Certainly not golf ball-sized, and I didn't feel like I was slipping around that much. I'm sure it's unpleasant after 10+ miles of running, but manageable, certainly. Manageable enough that I'm 95% certain I'll be donning my Pace Gloves come June 22. I'm planning to go a bit farther in the near future to assure myself it doesn't get any worse.

RUN, BAILEY! We don't want to be asked to show our permit that we totally have!

Anyway, hill training is valuable and I did a fair amount of it this week. Instead of wearing me out, I actually feel really strong. Stronger than at any point of marathon training, actually. I guess that's the point, huh? This weekend's running outings were amazing and did so much for my mental state. I've been fortunate that I've been very much "on" mentally this training cycle, but now I feel EVEN more amped about running. I thank the weather, my new trail, and hills for that.


Ummm, check out new Arrested Development. Part of me gets really sad whenever Gob isn't prominently featured in each and every scene, but it feels great to have it back.

  • Do you like hills? I've probably asked this a million times but humor me, okay?
  • Do you have any Memorial Day traditions?
  • Are your dogs water lovers? Bailey's the first dog I've ever had that enjoys water. She still won't swim in it (we're working on it), but if there is a puddle within a 10-foot radius, you better believe she'll be lying down in it in three seconds.


  1. I like hills. I also like Memorial Day. We'd go down to a (very) local parade/tribute/celebration, then have some family over to BBQ. Alas, none of that this year. :(

    My parents are currently on extended/permanent dog-sitting duty, and their charge doesn't like getting ever her FEET wet. So when the grass is wet, she does a delicate little dog tiptoe, trying to stay dry. [Picture a Yorkie doing this. Even freshly mowed grass practically tickles her belly.] She's quite a site.

  2. I wish I had hills to Trianon. But, I live in Dallas and its flat flat flat.

  3. I don't mind hills as long as I'm "in the zone." If I start off too soon with hills, I'll immediately hate them and fail.

    My dog sounds a lot like yours. We can't get him to go swimming. He always looks at the pool like "ooh that looks refreshing" and then runs in a panic when we try to put him in it, haha.

  4. Indy LOVVEESS the water. His favorite activity is fetch in water by far. Cooper likes to chase Indy in the water...but he's still working on swimming.

    Hills I always tackle with the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" mentality. They are SO good for you, so I suffer through them. Plus, I run trails, so they are just a necessary evil, but it keeps it interesting, I guess.