Thursday, December 13, 2012

Speed Work in Disguise

Thanks everyone for the comments regarding my 5k last weekend. I was pretty proud of myself for trying to get out of my "comfortable" zone while running and keep pushing even when I felt like walking.  Of course, it's a little easier to push when you have someone running with you - specifically FOR you.  You don't want to let them down or show them that you are a I will just typically hang in as long as I can.  And I really wanted a 5k PR.

As I've said in a recent post, I'm all about trying to improve myself right now.  In my personal life as well as running.  My marathons are over and I have time to focus on me.  As I also stated in a recent post, I'm trying to incorporate weekly speed work, weekly hill work, and an easy run (and a long run thrown in there if possible but that's been about every other week lately)...It's ok, they are still there and I'm still building everything up.  Not forgetting about my long runs but my weekends have been hit or miss so I'm squeezing them in every other weekend right now.  Come January, I will try to get a more scheduled routine down.

Yesterday, I decided to join a couple of friends in Palos Hills for some hill work.  Hills are considered "speed work in disguise".  You typically take hills a little slower but it makes you stronger and really helps you "fly" on those flat runs!  I'm not really sure how every surrounding area is all flat but Palos has all these hills!  This is also where I did my spring marathon training!  (I also don't know how I did 16 miles on these hills!).  Anyway, I met my friends Becky and Christy and their forgot his name for a 4 mile run on these hills. (Since typing this, I looked up his's Mike, lol)...  Julie decided to come with me too and I was glad to have her. Christy and her friend are SPEEDY people!  like 7:30's or something (I don't know, it's just fast).  Becky is more of a 9:00 min miler but can be speedier if pushed.  Julie and I are around the same pace 9:30-10:00 average.

Taken post-run but I felt a photo was needed.
Mike, (front row L-R) Christy, Becky (back L-R) Me, Julie
We were going to run the 4-mile turkey trot route.  The problem is that I'm not familiar with the route.  I've only run this turkey trot once in 2010 and it's all on the streets.  I'm sure if I got a map and studied it, I could figure it out.  Anyway, we had decided prior to the run that we would do the 4-mile route.  Somehow when I got there, I was asked if we wanted to do 4 or 6 miles.  Um...I know these hills and 4 sounded good to me!  But it was decided on averaging the distance to 5 miles.  Ok...I'll suck up the 5 miles.

As soon as we started and I got to my first hill (I hate this hill and it's not even the biggest), I regretted this run. I'm a huge baby when it comes to hills!  I wanted to just stop and quit and I wasn't even 1/4 mile into my run!  Well, for this reason, this is why I want to do hills once a week.  I need to get over the "I want to die" feeling on hills.  Also, frustratingly enough my garmin didn't even pick up signal for over a mile so I couldn't tell how fast we were going.  I figured that was probably a good thing considering I knew we were going too fast for me!  lol.  Again, I was just going to hang in there as long as possible.  I know I should take the hills a little slower but well...  oh well...

Becky was trying to hide the pace from me at the beginning but I caught on that we were going between 9:20-9:30 avg pace per mile.  Yikes!  In the spring, I could barely keep a 10:30 pace on these hills!  Of course, I'm in better run shape now so that pace made me happy.

On the way out, there is a giant hill that we get to run down!  It seemed to last forever!  I knew though that we would hit this hill going up when we turned around.  During spring training, I could never run all the way up this hill.  It's enormous!  I would run up part, walk up a part, and continue running up the end.  When we got to the turn around point, Christy stopped us to yell at us give us a pep talk about the upcoming giant mountain (true story, it is)...


We chuckled at this but I thought it was good because Julie told me as we were running down that hill that on the way back, she was walking up it.  I thought Christy heard her but she didn't!  So I laughed and turned to Julie and said, "Guess we are running it!"

Sure enough, because of Christy's pep talk, we all ran up that whole hill!  My first time ever to run up the whole thing!  :-)

And in true runner form...when we got to the point where we could cut it at 5 miles and go back to the car or loop back around for 1 more mile (the same mile as our first mile), Christy asks, "So do we have one more mile in us??"

Now I could have really gone to the car at this point but I figured what's one more mile.  So my 4 miles of hills ...turned into 5 miles...which turned into 6!  It was hard but totally worth it.  And since my garmin was screwed up, I estimated and it came to a 9:50 pace for the 6 miles.  Not too bad for me and my arch nemesis...hills.

About 5 miles of the 6 of the hills...
 This weekend I've got a half marathon, the Santa Hustle Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  My friend Susan wanted one more half marathon this year (I guess the 2 marathons, the 1 ultra, the several halfs and numerous 5k's weren't enough! lol).  We decided on this half marathon because I have friends that are also doing it...among them is fellow blogger Jodi.  I'm just going to run this half for fun.  I've had enough pressure with runs lately. lol.  Plus we may be wearing Santa gear and tutu's...just saying.


  1. Great job on conquering your arch nemesis hills! Also good job in turning your four miles into six! I guess that's a lesson for runners: When you think you are exhausted and think that you should just stop and walk, you probably have another good mile of running left in you somewhere! Good luck at the Santa Hustle.

  2. I love hills. It has been way too long since my last trip to palos...It's such a trek for me!! :(

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