conquering the bridge

I just checked.

My house is about 26 feet above sea level. And it is flat. So flat.

There are pretty much no inclines around here. No hills. Not even a tall parking garage.

I mean, maybe if you count the little grade that leads from the sidewalk to the street and back up again, but that’s really stretching it.

And that’s all well and good, but for the fact that a lot of courses do, in fact, have hills. And I have no idea on how to run them.

Enter Vilano Bridge.

Don’t let her fool you. She’s a monster.

But I am determined to run her at least once a week, and I started on Saturday.

Here I am, wearing my brave face. It was really, really windy.

And so, at about 7:00 AM, we began. The plan was to run up and over, down the wooden boardwalk, under the bridge, down the street a little, and then back.

I kept up with my group for a little while, and then fell behind. Which was ok. They’re all pretty experienced runners and I still consider myself a beginner. Up and up and up we ran, into the wind, and about a minute or two from the summit, my knees were getting pretty pissed, so I slowed to a walk.

The view is pretty incredible.

Running downhill was incredible. I loved how fast I felt and how much momentum I seemed to be gaining. At one point, my pace dipped under eight minutes, and I thought it might be a good idea to reign myself in a bit so I didn’t overexert anything unintentionally. I’m not sure what the proper technique is, but I felt good at the slower pace.

I followed my group under the bridge as planned, but lost them on the road. I looped around for a minute, and when I didn’t see them pop out where I expected them, I sent a quick text to my friend to let her know and headed back.

I ran the boardwalk, walked almost all the way up the bridge and then started running. With the wind at my back, it was easier to get over the top of the bridge, and then blessed downhill.

When I reached the bottom, there was still no sign of my friends, so I figured I would be productive and walk back up to meet them. Still nothing (at this point, I felt like a slacker because where on earth had they run to???), and I was thirsty, so I ran back down towards the car to grab a drink and wait.

Turns out, they had gotten ahead of me when I lost them and had been waiting for me after I did my second attempt. Oops. We will definitely have to coordinate better in the future.

When all was said and done, I did 2.41 miles in 28:58. Perfectly respectable for a first outing, in my eyes. Afterwards, I felt great. No pains or cramps or anything of the kind. I wanted to reserve judgment until the next morning. It seems there’s nothing like a full night of sleep to really bring out the aches and pains. Happily, I woke up on Sunday morning with no complaints.

I can’t wait to do it again. My goal is to be able to run the whole thing twice by the end of the year. I may even do better than that, but I’m not sure how consistent I will able to be with this particular facet of my training (my hope is weekly, but I have no doubt life will get in the way).

It’s amazing to me how I went from wanting to run just 3.1 little miles to pushing harder and harder and trying to find the next challenge or level. And it’s even more amazing to find myself accomplishing these challenges one at a time. My running end goal is completely fluid and changing, and I feel myself growing and developing with those goals.

until next time…

How you handle hill training? Do you have naturally elevated terrain? Or a treadmill with a wicked incline?

Do you find your running and fitness goals changing as you improve and gain experience? ย I would love to hear about it!

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33 Responses to conquering the bridge

  1. Matilda says:

    Where I live it is deceptively hilly. Hills for me aren’t a problem. I’d rather do hill training than speedwork.
    I’m lucky in a way, cause when I go away to do a run, I’m like “it’s so flat”. So that’s a plus.
    One of the hills in town has an elevation of 153m, I will usually use that and do hill repeats.
    Otherwise 20mins away is the Grampians National Park, and loads of hilly mountains there.

    And yes my running and fitness goals change all the time. When I first started running it was just complete a 5km, then it was the bigger distances. Now it comes down to time. And when I cross that off, something new goes on.
    Matilda recently posted…Monday Motivation โ€“ LaughMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oh my goodness! I would probably need oxygen at 153m! That’s awesome that you have so much so accessible to you. It’s hard for me to process getting in my car and driving to a running spot, when I have so many roads and sidewalks available right outside my front door, but unless I spend an hour running up and down my staircase, I’m not going to get the experience I need.

  2. Maria @ Lil Mys Ninja says:

    I try to do hills once a week to keep up my endurance. We have a few hills where I live but one in particular route is my favorite so I keep going back each week. Plus we can get anywhere from a 3-5 mile run. I’m sure we could get more mileage just venturing into the other side neighborhoods but I haven’t done more than 5 there yet.

    I hate link dropping in a comment so I won’t do it but I did Motivation Mondays post a while back with tips on how to run hills. I’m not a run coach or expert but they are universal and have helped me. I can give you the link if you want or you can search for “Tackle Those Hills” and it should pull up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congrats on you hill run! Running a bridge is awesome and I love it. But it is also the windiest and that sucks! Way to push through!

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oooh! I would love the link! Thank you!

      It was pretty windy, although not as bad as it could be. I think as long as I start running into the wind, and end with it behind me, that will be great.

      I had a blast and it felt so good to be conquering something I never thought I would be able to do.

  3. I agree with you- I don’t like hills. Unfortunately where I live if I want to avoid hills I get one bike path to run on. Everything else is hills. When running hills I focus on an even effort, not an even pace. It seems weird and sometimes frustrating to be going slower on the hills, but it has made me a stronger hill runner. Good luck on your training!
    Wornout Soles recently posted…Swimming is bad for {my} healthMy Profile

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi! It has taken me awhile to find your blog. Appreciate that you’ve been stopping by mine. And yes, do NOT see Frankenweenie if you have close relationships with any dogs or have ever lost one or are bothered by films where something happens to animals. I thought that it wouldn’t bother me because it is animated, but I cried at least 3 times. I wanted to stop watching. It was horrible. Guess I’m a big sap when it comes to dogs.

    I don’t have any trouble finding hills. Even our “flat” routes around here have hills. Plus I live at roughly a mile above sea level. A few years ago I purposely ran hills and I became a stronger runner. But I have a problem with my left knee and it doesn’t like hills, so now I avoid them where possible.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Not watching it. No way, no how.

      I’m sorry about your knee. I hope mine holds out. I’m always expecting something to start giving me trouble, but knock on wood, I’ve been holding strong! Glad you found me and hope to see you back here again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Haley says:

    I’m running a relay through Napa Valley and I have no hills here in Florida so I have to use bridges too! Best thing about those hills are the views over the ocean. Good job on conquering that bridge. It gets easier.
    Haley recently posted…Spirit of the Marathon IIMy Profile

  6. Good for you, for seeking out a hill to run! Way to go! And I hear you, some days I get too hard on myself when my speed or distance isn’t what I want it to be and then I remember – back in February I was trying to run just one mile. I’ve come so far, and I’m constantly pushing myself… and that’s what is important!
    Ari @ The Pace of it All recently posted…Frustration x 2, a new friend… and Handana giveaway winner!My Profile

  7. Looks like fun! I’m a freak of nature though and like hills. I may have to try it one weekend!

    If you want some more variety, running the bridges downtown is nice too. You can do a loop over the Acosta, along the river walk, then back over the Main Street Bridge. There’s a great area down by the Landing to run right along the river too.. doesn’t hurt that there are a few bars and yummy places to eat when you’re done ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kristin Smith @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…Why Do I Run?My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I want to try the downtown bridges, but I might wait til it gets cooler. I like to run super early, and that’s a heck of a drive to get over there and parked before the sun really comes up. Of course, I might be convinced to make a girls’ night of it – a little running, a little wining, a little eating. That sounds like my cup of tea ๐Ÿ™‚
      runswithpugs recently posted…conquering the bridgeMy Profile

  8. Emma @ a mom runs this town says:

    Great job. Bridges = brutal. I attack hills on the treadmill so I don’t have to hurt my knees running back down!

    • runswithpugs says:

      Thanks! Gah! I can’t even imagine the incline on a treadmill, but I must admit, I am so afraid of falling off one of those things that I very rarely give it a shot.

  9. Diana says:

    I hate hills. Haaate them. I guess because I’m not used to them. There are some teeny, “rolling” hills where I normally run, but nothing big. There are some hills I could run, but I avoid them. I am a wuss. My plan for this summer was to start doing hills, but I think with the heat and all…. meh. Maybe in the fall. LOL
    Diana recently posted…AttitudeMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      LOL! The heat is a killer for sure. Running this one at 6:30am is the perfect time and there will always be a breeze off the ocean so that makes it tolerable. I hope you get to it in fall!

  10. I promise you that you will be able to run that hill in NO time! I run the causeway all the time (and by all the time I mean once a week), and I always start out and run it on fresh legs and then run it right at the end. My car is parked in a little park near the bottom. Some days I feel like crawling to the top, but some days it feels like nothing. You’re gonna rock it, I bet sooner than you anticipate!! You go, girl! Congratulations ๐Ÿ˜€
    Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom recently posted…Pirates, Muscovies, and Humidity: Weekend RecapMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I hope so. I’m giving myself some extra time because it feels like the end of the year is right around the corner and I don’t want to push it too hard. I already have so many big goals for the end of the year, you know? Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. You’re wise to not push yourself too hard – having to rest because of injury is not fun. That bridge looks like it goes on forever! That will make you strong!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…High Temps Vs. High HumidityMy Profile

  12. Kristy says:

    Well I am from Utah, so we don’t really have anything that is flat. Which forces me to love hills! But for me nothing is better than a good mountain run!
    Additionally, yes I do think fitness goals change as experience comes. I remember running my first marathon thinking one a year is plenty for me. Then I went 2, then 3… Well then 14 a year. I found I keep wanting new challenges and love to push my body!
    Good luck with your goal, you keep it up and you’ll have that run finished exactly as you’d like in no time!!!
    Kristy recently posted…Add a New Positivity Into Your Life TodayMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Races are addicting! Every time I say “Ok, that’s all I’m doing for this year”, another one pops up that I just HAVE to do.

      Running in Utah must be beautiful. I’m going to go through your blog to look for pictures for some of the views ๐Ÿ™‚
      runswithpugs recently posted…figuring out fuelingMy Profile

  13. Carrie says:

    I don’t mind a great hill, but then again sometimes flat fits me perfectly fine! Good luck with your goal this year!
    Carrie recently posted…I workout because I canMy Profile

  14. Erin says:

    My first bridge run was really intimidating but as soon as I started going down hill u was in love with the feeling! Great job! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. DragonLady says:

    You go girl!! There are a lot of hills to train on around where I live. The Tuesday night BCRT run starts and finishes at the top of a hill. The hill doesn’t look like much, but it is a b**** to get up that thing. There is a huge hill not far from my house going down to the river. One of these days I think I will be brave and try to run up it. Maybe. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    DragonLady recently posted…Maniacal Monday #17My Profile

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  17. Wow! That is one impressive bridge and an awesome accomplishment. I love the view! I just had to look it up because it reminds me of the bridge I ran over in Sarasota. Same state but different brutal bridge : )
    Luv What You Do recently posted…Thereโ€™s always some Bananasโ€ฆMy Profile

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