Given that the only two events currently booked on my race calendar are incredibly hilly, it seemed like a good idea to start doing a little hill work.
So on Thursday night I asked Chad if he wanted to run some hills with me on Friday. "Sure," he replied, as long as we didn't get all lame and run them in the coolest part of the day. We settled in on 11 a.m.
My favorite hill workout is a 9-mile affair, to Abersham park and back, plus two loops of the park itself. Abersham is a failed subdivision that has been purchased by the county and is now a public park. It already has a paved infrastructure in the form of a road and greenway that make a two-mile loop.
On. The. Side. Of. A. Massive. Hill.
How massive? Each two-mile loop includes about 200 feet of climbing. It's not Blue Ridge Marathon hilly, but by virtually any other standard, it rates. It's where we've planned the Pick Your Poison 10K, coming up in a month. Here's the elevation profile of the two-mile loop:
As you can see, it's intimidating. It's even more unfriendly when you do it in 80-degree weather. At the start this didn't feel too bad, but after about 5 miles I really began to struggle. But somehow we kept running at a relatively decent pace, around 8:20 miles. We held out at this pace until the final mile, when we finally took a walk break. The last mile was an 9:21 pace. The heat (and lack of food and water for the entire run) finally got to me.
I can't imagine what this course will feel like when folks are running it under race conditions. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I won't get to run in the race -- I'll be timing it!
The timing gigs are now frequent enough that I'm going to have to start modifying my training schedule. We're timing a lot of races on Saturdays, so instead of taking a Monday rest day, I'm going to be running Mondays and taking most Saturdays off. This past Monday I decided I hadn't had enough of the hills of Grey Road, so I ran another 7 out there -- at a bit slower pace. Details of Friday's and Monday's workouts are below.