Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gasping and wheezing and beating the boys

My training plan told me to start doing hill repeats every other Tuesday about 10 weeks ago, but I've been behind on the whole running program, and the sciatica is worst up hills, and, well, who doesn't want to skip hill repeats?

But yikes, I'm 46 days away from Lake Placid. So here's how they go: Warm up for 15 minutes or so. Find a hill 400-800 meters long. Run up it as fast as you can. Go down it slowly enough that your heart rate gets back down to Zone 1. Repeat. In this case, repeat 8 times. Cool down 10-15 minutes. Try not to puke.

So there I went. Left a water bottle at the corner of Limerock and Chestnut Streets and bolted up the hill, grateful for the cool air and empty streets. I intended to go all the way up to Penobscot Avenue, but was wheezing so hard at the top of the beast at Highland Ave (a mere 250-meter stretch) that I chickened out and decided that would be good enough for my first hill session. I trotted back down to do it again. And again and again.

I had to laugh when I saw the Garmin data. See the nearly imperceptible little ripples in the middle of the top graph? That's my monster hill. See the huge spikes of effort in the bottom graph? That's my heart.

But I was granted a victorious ending. Coming down the hill on #7, I passed four men running up. I reached the corner, turned around, and as I started my final climb I realized that if I really pushed, there was a chance I'd catch them, maybe even beat them to Highland Avenue.

Now, let's just not say anything about how old they were, or how long they had already been running, or how far they still had to go, or whether one of them is currently experiencing a major medical challenge. Little details like this are irrelevant to me when there's a chance to beat the boys. It makes me happy every single time, no matter what reality-based little pesky details stack the deck in my favor.

I gave that last hill everything I had, and they never saw me coming. I came lurching from behind to slap the telephone pole at the top just a foot ahead of the first guy, heard a couple exclamations of surprise and something sounding vaguely congratulatory about "hill work." I gasped a "thank you, guys" and took an extra slow trot back down.

Run: warm up, 8 x hill, cool down
Strength training
Swim: Alternating fast/easy,
2x25, 2x50, 2x75, 2x100, 2x150, 2x200, 2x150, 2x100, 2x75, 2x50, 2x25

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