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.
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? I would love to hear about it!