Monday, April 13, 2009

Running update: Month of 10s

Since my first half marathon of the year is in June rather than October this year, I've had to push up my Supah Technical Training Schedule so that my 10 mile long runs fall in April rather than August. 

This schedule has its benefits, since it's way more fun (or just less torturous) to run 10 miles in April weather than August weather. Specifically, it's not so fucking hot.

The part of this silver lining that I'm choosing to ignore right now is the fact that I'll be grinding out long runs in the summer heat regardless, since I'm still doing that same half marathon in October. 

So, the fact that I'm running 10 miles now, in April, means very little, since I'll be doing the same 10 miles in August. When it's 90 degrees during the day and I have to get up when it's still nighttime to avoid my favorite summer pasttime known as heatstroke


The plan is that once the Seattle Rock N Roll is done in June, I'll come home, recupe with much whining and then head back out after a few weeks to stay in shape for the San Jose Rock N Roll in October. I love how this plan sounded so doable at the beginning of the year. 

Oh, how I love to write checks that my Future Self will have to cash. 

I predict that I will cry a lot this year. And say many bad words that involve running, heat and running in the heat. New to the course this year - bad words about hills. Fun!

Yes, as I touched on earlier (have I mentioned this? Maybe not, but it's been in my head a lot. Which is kinda the same.), the Seattle version of this race has some hills. I'm not sure how severe these hills are or what type of physiological damage they're going to do to my body as I try to scale them with my wee "I don't do hills" legs, but the elevation chart does not lie with its scary bumpiness.

Hi, Miles 5 - you will suck. There are no two ways about that. 

I also imagine that at Mile 10.5 I will begin to question my own sanity and contemplate suicide by PowerGel.  

My only vague hope for survival comes from the unrealistic hope that I will be able to get up enough speed from the downhill off mile 12 to coast into the finish line at 13.1. If I happen to do so by somersault, this is fine.

By comparison, let us look at San Jose's elevation chart and its enviable flatness:

Yes. This is what I like. Any course deemed "Flat and fast" by the race committee is my kind of race. Not because I will run it fast, but because flat means I can run it without dying or making a shameful mess of myself in front of thousands of others. So, while I've managed to retain some level of dignity in San Jose (which is good, given that it's my hometown), I have no such hopes for Seattle.

No, my dear sister and beloved friends who have so graciously offered to cheer for me at this event, I fully expect to make a shameful spectacle of myself in your town and for this I apologize in advance. I will love you no less if you decide to leave my name out of your cheers and pretend to instead cheer for someone who's not dragging limbs behind them across the finish line. Or cursing between sobs while giving everyone passing her the finger.

With hills like that, there's very little hope that I will avoid all of my worst running fears:
  • Crying in public
  • Running so slowly that I get passed by walkers. Pushing strollers. Talking on cell phones.
  • Tacking on full hours to my finish time
And what am I doing to assuage these fears? Am I running hill sprints and training my body up for such geographical challenges?

Obviously not!

Well, not yet anyway. 

The farthest I've progressed in my "I realize that there are hills in this race. That can not be ignored." training is accepting the existence of hills and my rank hatred for them. And then I made a mental note of a link on Runners World that said "Hill training".

I have not yet clicked on this link. I think it's because I'm scared of what it will say since I'm sure it will tell me to go out and run hills which I REALLY don't want to do. 

Do you see why it's scary to be in my head? It makes no sense in there.

Anyway, eventually I will go look at this link and hopefully it will contain some sort of helpful training advice (something to the effect of "go run hills", I imagine) and then I will probably give up and follow this advice, but I'm sure by then it will be too late and I'll still end up almost dying in Seattle so that my sister has to ship my withered pathetic remains home in my race goodie bag. 

Do you have advice on running hills? Do you have advice for training for hills that actually doesn't involve running on hills? Can I borrow your magic wand? 

Have you actually been on this course and found there to be no hills? Because if you have, that'd be great. 

Feel free to lie to me.


  1. Advice for running hills? Don't. Do. It!!!! I avoid hills. I don't even like bumps in the path I run. Stupid bumps.

  2. I find it useful to stare at my feet while running hills, instead of looking at the ever-receding horizon of the hill. That way I can sort of deceive myself. For I am old, short, and not very fast.

  3. My advice. Drive up to SF, get out of your car, run until you find a hill (this will not take long). Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Or get yourself a jou-jou bag filled with a chicken foot, some sacred sage, a piece of cloth covered in blood from a hill, and a half a Vicodin (that's for me.) Wear it around your neck and mumble something in Latin. (Hebrew will do, since the universe hasn't spoken Latin since the Reformation.)

  4. My expert advice on running hills is: DON'T

    I would give you my magic wand except it is at the Magic Wand Cleaners getting some unrecognizable stains removed. If I get it back in time, it is yours!

  5. Decca: I have a chicken foot in my refrigerator that I would be willing to donate for the cause. I wish I was kidding.

    Finny: I think it's best to just accept that hills are out to destroy you, and just cuss and cry your way through them as best you can.

    Oh, and I heard there are no bad hills on that course. So you'll be okay.

  6. Lisa - I couldn't agree more. Bumps of any variety tend to enrage me. Even if those bumps are people. Actually, ESPECIALLY if those bumps are people. I'm a meanie.

    crgilvr - This is exactly the kind of advice I need. Pain avoidance. Thank you! I will use this advice, to be sure. Because I, too, am not fast.

    Decca - Oh sure, I *could* go to SF and run some hills, but that'd be way too obvious. And I know how painful it would be given my one sad race in SF where I saw the first hill and nearly choked to death. Perhaps I will try the jou-jou bag approach and just leave a note to bury me in it when the hills kill me.

    Claudia -= This is very popular advice. Glad to see I'm not the only one who hates running hills. Thank you for the loaner. :)

    Kris - You've likely just described the exact approach I will take. Because running hills in preparation for running hills just seems like more of a bad thing. As though I could REALLY get in shape enough in two months to offset the inevitable torture of running a mile uphill. It's just going to suck. Period. I'll just spend some time thinking up some new swears.

    Thankfully - there aren't any hills according to Master Kristin, so I'll be OK :)

    What are you saving the chicken foot for?

  7. Those first five miles are going to be flat, but kind of blah and boring. (why on earth does this thing start in Tukwila? Tukwila is...ummm...well, it's Tukwila. It has a big mall.) Once you hit Lake Washington at about mile 6.8, it'll be gorgeous and lovely (and flat! So flat!) until 10.3, when you get to go up and over the hill. Once you get downtown, it'll be interesting again. And hey - you get to run through the I-90 tunnel! yippee.

  8. Holy crap! Those aren't hills! They are MOUNTAINS!!!! Yikes, girl. I can offer no help. We are very hilly here and I try to run them when I am outdoors, but I cannot help you. (I'm currently sidelined for heel pain. The knees are better though.)

  9. I have a solution. Hubby and I will pick you up just before the hills and drive you to the other side. They'd never know, right?

    Alternatively, you can try to focus on how much better you are than me as you run up those happy hills. I definitely stick to the flats--and I don't run long distances either. So you will be my hero if you run this. If you opt for the shuttle option, I'll still be mightily impressed. :)


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