I Can’t Make You Love Me if You Don’t

by Sue

So let’s talk a little bit about hills.

They suck.

Or I suck. Not sure which.

On the schedule for Monday was a 1-mile warm-up, 6 hill repeats, and a cool-down for the remainder, for a total of 9 miles. Goal pace 9:00-9:15, excluding the hill repeats; the objective of those being to finish strong and not fade out at the end.

The short story: nothing in this run said “cool-down” to me.

The long story: I thought I found a hill that met all the criteria–long, slow and gradual climb of about 0.25 miles. And it was pretty spot-on.

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I live, let’s just say “outside of town”. In case you couldn’t tell from the photo. The only thing missing from this picture is a loose farm animal.

So, I felt pretty confident in executing the hill repeats. I tried to focus on just doing them and not looking at my Garmin too much. I also think next time I could put forth a better effort, but this was a first for me, so it’s a learning experience.

Hill repeats, as defined by my current bedside table reading material, The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training are:

“A workout that includes sprinting uphill fast, then jogging downhill at an easy pace to recover, then repeating the sequence. A workout thought to be an efficient way to build up leg strength, speed, and aerobic capacity. Hill repeats reduce your injury risk by limiting fast-running time and because the incline of a hill shortens the distance you have to fall, which reduces impact”.

Makes sense.

Where I wanted to sit down and cry ran into difficulty was the remainder of my run, which was supposed to be the “easy” cool down portion. At that point I had about 5.5 miles to go to complete it. Piece of cake, right?

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What I did not take into consideration was how ridiculously hilly the rest of the route was. All of it looked like this, and worse. Running these hills was way harder than the hill repeats since they were short and steep and there were lots of them. As soon as I got down one, it was right back up another. You would think that choosing a road with the name “Hill” in it would’ve been my first clue. Add into the equation that the humidity was 85%. Epic awfulness. I didn’t hit my paces. I gutted it out but seriously considered walking home and running the rest on the treadmill.

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9 miles in 1:24:07.

Lucky for you, I spared you the photo of me lying in my driveway at the end.

For hours afterward, I physically felt like I had raced a half that morning. Not good.

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Any hill lovers out there? Will I ever learn to love them?

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