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Posts tagged with: hills

The Hills Are Alive…

I’m in the middle of reading “I’m Here To Win: A World Champion’s Advice for Peak Performance” by Chris “Macca” McCormack, and coincidentally, I read this excerpt Friday night, after a big swim, and before our big weekend workout:

Every triathlete, pro or amateur, no matter how fit reaches a point in every race where he has to decide whether or not he will endure more suffering. It’s very simple. Either he will or he won’t. You will get there. The only question is how you’ll handle it.

It’s that simple. Whenever I do these races I always come to that point where my self-doubt kicks in and guess if I’m hitting The Wall. It usually wasn’t The Wall, but I still think, “I’m still running, this hurts… should I keep going?” I always kept going.

Saturday challenge: VERY hilly 9 miles in the South Bay. I’ve never been to this running route before, so I was pretty excited and scared at the same time. I know for sure this wasn’t a flat beach run. As expected, we were introduced to some pretty nasty hills, equivalent to a Category 5 on the bike (the hardest of them all). Immediately out of the meeting spot was uphill… and up, and up, and up. It just wouldn’t stop! See below (and that’s not a forced perspective shot, camera is looking straight ahead):

Sunday challenge: 50 mile minimum, or 3.5 hours + 2 mile run in Santa Monica/Malibu. It was nicknamed “Mari & Luke’s Revenge,” as the team returned to the mean streets of Malibu. The alumni had a modified course, with the return to the infamous hill on John Tyler Road. One experienced rider even said “That was the f*ckin HARDEST hill I’ve ever done!”. Alumni route had to do a few hill loops around Pepperdine with a total of 2 x JohnT + 2 x Rest-of-Team Hill in that day. It was madness I tell ya! Second time around wasn’t any easier. Imagine putting your bike to the easiest gears, having to stand up and pedal, still having the hardest time trying to climb. You know what though? We did it. I didn’t have to zig zag up, nor unclip, nor stop. As hard as it was, it felt amazing to conquer it. I made John Tyler my bitch that morning. Take that! As a reward each time, we were blessed with this beautiful view:

How to Accidentally Run 22 Miles

Sunday’s run schedule was 7 miles with “intro to hills”, so we met at the corner of Gretna Green and Montana in Brentwood. My initial plan was to do 17 miles (my last long run before the Austin Marathon), because the previous day, I ran 3, to total out a 20 mile weekend. Now, about that title of this blog post – how did I accidentally run 22 miles? I didn’t plan a run route beforehand. I wasn’t really paying attention to my Garmin watch either – OOPS! Learn from me – don’t do that!

The practice spot was pretty close to my house, so I just ran there. Then the next 7 miles were a Brentwood Golf Course Loop (3 something miles), followed my hill intervals. What does that mean? Franklin St, just a little past the start of the run loop, was a pretty decent hill. We had to do hill repeats, 0:90 first time at easy pace, 0:60 second time at a moderate pace, then 0:30 at full speed. After each climb was a recovery downhill, then after the set of 3, a mile loop around the neighborhood. Repeat the set of 3 for 3 times. Whew! I was SPENT! At that point, I wasn’t sure if I should continue my long run.

I knew I had to complete a long run before Austin or else I’d be struggling during that marathon (even though I don’t plan on PRing it), so I just said F it, let’s do it. Fortunately, one of my coaches is training for the American River 50 Ultramarathon, so he had to knock out a 3 hour run. I agreed to run the first few miles with him. From Brentwood, we took a nice scenic route through the tree-lined neighborhood of Santa Monica, heading west to Ocean. Felt really great the whole time, averaging a 8:45-9:00 min pace, slightly downhill. We had good conversation about running, triathlons, travel and all that good stuff. I was supposed to split and turn at the Santa Monica Pier, but I felt so good, I decided to keep running towards Venice. Time flies when you’re having fun and the pace was just right that I guess I was at my cruising speed. I was only paying attention to major markers along the Boardwalk, not really paying attention to my watch. That was a big mistake, because once we hit the Venice Pier, I decided to head back north, while my coach continued south. Uh oh… I was at 16 at that point, and I was maybe 5+ miles away from home. I had no other choice but to run back.

By the end of it all, I was exactly at 22 miles. I was dehydrated because the last few miles before home didn’t have any stores or water fountains. I did my stretches infront of my place real quick, then rushed to my kitchen to chow down on my Hollybar recovery nutrition, and drank to refuel my electrolytes! I think I scarfed down my food/drinks in less than 30 seconds! I cooked some food immediately after, and I was done with that in no time either! Done and done! I guess I’m ready for the Austin Marathon in 2 weeks!

I only had time to get a little powernap before I had to go to my teammate Travis’ Superbowl fundraiser in Eagle Rock. Nonstop action! It was a Korean BBQ buffet, so you know I was all over that! 3 rounds of food to be exact. It was really fun, but I was struggling to stay awake. I pretty much stayed in the same spot, mainly because I was so tired. I didn’t want to move to a couch because of fears of possibly falling asleep! It was an awesome way to end a full weekend of training, after a full week of no training because of work.

Hills Finale

hilltraining.jpgTonight was the final scheduled session of our hill training. Unfortunately, this was only my third of five total sessions. After an initial warm up run down the street, we ran up the hill for a total of 6 times (7 to be exact because we did 2 half runs), and looped around the block for 3 times.

Ok, after 3 seasons of hill training you’d think I’d perfect this by now, right? NO. That hill is STILL hard. That hill had a gradual incline up until that horrid 40 degree incline 3/4 of the way up! Just like last time, my heart was beating sooo fast, and my breathing was so deep. During the run, there was only one word on my mind. “WHY?”.

I didn’t really know until after the run, because actually, I felt great. I felt great for accomplishing and not giving up on that hill that continues to conquer most of us. I felt great for being able to say no to whatever party or bar I may have hit up tonight, and actually deciding to train. I feel stronger every time, and I’m loving it. The San Diego Marathon is a month and days away, and you know what? I already feel I’m ready.

The Hills

The HillsNo, not the TV show, the Hills. I’m talking about the hills in Santa Monica. Before TNT, I never really knew that hills even existed in Santa Monica. When I hear Santa Monica, I think of sunny skies, the beach, and the promenade. Well, on the east part of Santa Monica, near the airport (they have an airport too?!?), our team trains in a residential street named Dewey. Today was my first session, but it was the team’s second practice here. It replaced the strength training (although we’re supposed to do that on our own time now) on Wednesday nights. This time it was 7pm.

Let me tell you, those hills are crazy! It made me feel like I was in some kind of boot camp. I guess it’s almost equivalent to running up stairs. We sprinted up this hilly street, in which gradually inclines for the first 2 mini-blocks, then the 3rd and 4th sections incline horrendously. We sprinted up, then walked down. The downhill part was just as tough as my legs were wobbly. My heart was racing, I was out of breath, and my legs were aching.

The reason for this kind of training? Taken from our team’s website, this is why:

  • helps develop power and muscle elasticity
  • improves stride frequency and length
  • develops co-ordination, encouraging the proper use of arm action during the driving phase and feet in the support phase
  • develops control and stabilization as well as improved speed (downhill running)
  • promotes strength endurance
  • develops maximum speed and strength (short hills)
  • improves lactate tolerance (mixed hills)