Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hills, hills, hills!

With 3000 mg a day of amoxicillin pumping through my veins I am feeling better and better each day. I didn’t realize how sick I was until I started feeling better, having energy and motivation again. I still have one more test tomorrow in the morning and am waiting some results before I have a clean bill of health and I can march on with a clear head. The preliminary pock and prod was good and the doctor was optimistic that my lumps and bumps are a result of being sick for a long period of time. I am about to turn to other music besides Robert Plants, Darkness, Darkness......whew things are looking up.

Training is in full swing and since I am feeling better I am hungry and motivated for workouts. Tuesday I had my first attempt at any substantial hills and boy I could feel it. My workout called for a solid 30 min. warm up then 8-10 steep strides ranging from 45 seconds to 1:36. This workout is like the track with the same workload only on steep ascents. I chose the base of firelane 1 in forest park for this stride session. The firelane grade is perfect! It’s really steep from the base and just begins to level off by the time I hit my 1:36 time mark. The first two strides were good but I felt my legs filling and feeling heavy. On the down hills I was clumsy and unsure of myself. My strength on the ascents was okay but my knee drive seemed slow. I could feel muscles quivering that have been dormant since the summer. It felt good to be pushing myself again, being keenly aware of my weaknesses but knowing the changes and adaptations will come over time and practice. By the 7th stride I was beat and called it good at 8 steep strides! It was a solid workout and I felt good which is all relative these days.

As I was driving home I was thinking about the difference between a fast road runner and a mountain runner. I know some folks think they are one or the other based on past performances or just preferences. I wondered what I thought about that now after spending 4 months doing nothing but preparing for a fast flat road run. Strength running versus speed running is definitely two different animals but I think you can train yourself to be good at either. Of course Scott J. has proven that with his Hardrock/Spartathon races. I developed some good speed but to the expense of strength and that was very apparent on Tuesday.

Today was my first attempt at any hill repeats since August! The workout was a total of 2 hours and went like this: 30 min. warm up then .5 miles at m-pace then 2X25 minute hill repeats at threshold, work the downs aggressively. I was excited and Stacey, Tom and Kris were coming too! What a day, great workout, feeling better, great company and lots of sunshine. Sounds like an awesome day and it was. We met in the morning did our warm up and m-pace portion then had at the hill. We chose Saltzman road which is 2.9 miles consistently uphill with a grade that forces you to work. The first repeat was awesome and I felt fairly strong and in control of my body and my breath. When we reached to top and headed downhill fast all was good but about half way down I felt fatigue in my legs. The last repeat was harder for sure but I could sustain it. My cardio is in much better shape then my strength because it was difficult to power into threshold on the last third. My time to the top was about 30 seconds slower and as hard as tried to pump my arms… legs just wouldn’t go any faster.

Driving home I felt completely satisfied and filled with joy. So far a great start to this new phase of training. This weekend will be my first trip to the gorge for some “big girl” hills and terrain.


  1. Nice work, Rooster. It's great to see you get back into some solid training. Enjoy your big girl hills!

  2. Glad to hear that you are feeling better. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces at Chuckanut. My fitness isn't great, but I'm gaining. Probably wasting my breath, but don't push too hard while you're still battling the infection. Might as well tell water to stop flowing downhill.

  3. Oh my goodness; shorts! You are wearing shorts!! I'm SO jealous. It was 6F when I began my run today with two pair of pants and two tops, a jacket, mitts and a hat. I'm looking forward to South Padre Island in two weeks. I'm so glad you are feeling better, what a way to remind ourselves how grateful we are when we are feeling well! Good workouts, too. Enjoy those shorts :)

  4. Can't wait for the hills too! Scared in anticipation:)