Another hilly long run.

17 Mar

I was actually looking forward to my long run today, but I kept waking up last night feeling nervous about the route, which looked like this:

The elevation chart says a gain and loss of almost 800 feet. I believed it all last night, and all this morning, until I just checked the lowest and highest elevations. It’s only a gain/loss of 400 feet. But I’m still feeling pretty good about this run. Why? Well, here’s the elevation profile of the Mayor’s Marathon (the race I’m doing):

From what I can tell, the Mayor’s Marathon starts at 200 feet above sea level, climbs to 550 feet over 15 miles, and then ends at about 100 feet – a total gain of 350 feet and loss of 450.

My run today start at 5500 feet above sea level, climbed to 5900 feet over 4.5 miles, and ended back at 5500 – total gain/loss of 400 feet (not to mention the additional 5000 feet above sea level). I climbed 50 more feet in less than a third of the distance. If I keep this up, I’m going to be kicking those hills’ a$$, instead of the other way around (which is the whole goal)!

Since my phone is crap and I still haven’t sprung for a Garmin, I used my husband’s Ironman watch for my run this morning, which allows you to track your splits manually. When I mapped out my route last night, I wrote down on a piece of paper where each mile split was (I didn’t end up needing the paper because apparently, I memorized them). Anyway, here they are:

Mile 1 – 11:42

Mile 2 – 11:27

Mile 3 – 11:38

Mile 4 – 12:00

Mile 5 – 11:46

Mile 6 – 10:18 (hello downhill!)

Mile 7 – 11:26

Mile 8 – 10:55

Mile 9 – 10:33

Mile .09 – 0:53

TOTAL – 1:42:49, average pace of 11:17/mile

For the first half mile, I debated about scrapping the route I had chosen. I was running uphill, into the wind and my legs felt crappy, even though I was wearing my 2XU compression tights (and had worn them to bed last night). I couldn’t see how I was going to run uphill for 4.5 miles and survive. But I didn’t stop and after a mile, my legs felt better.

The rest of the run was actually very enjoyable. I did have a few moments on the way out when I thought “My legs are so tired! I’m so sick of uphill!” But overall, I was distracted enough with remembering where each mile marker was and enjoying the gorgeous weather (60 and sunny!) that before I knew it, I was at the turnaround. The section right before the turnaround was a glorious downhill, so I used that opportunity to take my first gel – a Clif Shot Razz gel. It was good, but a little too tart for my taste (let’s be honest, the Peanut Butter Gu has ruined me). But I liked the consistency and the fact their wrappers come with a “Litter Leash”:

That way, you don’t have to hold on to the top (or drop it). Very smart, I tell ya.

Mile 6 was by far the best mile of the run – my legs felt great and I was running the perfect downhill slope – not too steep to make it hard on the knees, and not too flat to barely be advantageous. The sun was shining and I had that runner’s high moment of “Yes, this is awesome.” I seriously felt like raising my arms in victory and singing along to my music out loud.

Mile 7, my right calf started threatening to cramp up. I’m pretty sure it would’ve actually done so if I hadn’t been wearing my compression tights. I just read this article on muscle cramping that Run, Eat, Repeat posted yesterday, where I learned that cramps mean you’re low on sodium. So I decided to eat the other gel I had brought, the Espresso-flavored Hammer Gel, to see if that would help. The gel was really good – if you like coffee, you’d like that one. It didn’t really help, but I was able to keep running – as evidenced by those last two miles being two of the three fastest of the run! I finished strong and stretched a bit before driving home to an epsom salt bath and egg sandwich (not simultaneously).

This run has really encouraged me – not only because it shows that my legs and lungs are able to handle hills better than a month ago, but also because it gives me hope that the hills in the marathon won’t completely slaughter my goal (which I’m still determining). That’s what keeps me motivated during these hard(er) runs – like Sarah OUAL says, “It sucks now, so it sucks less later.” All this hard hill work will make the marathon easier less brutal.

Another long run in the books!

What flavor of gel is your favorite? Definitely the Peanut Butter Gu, but I bought a few more today to try out because they didn’t have that flavor in stock!?!?

2 Responses to “Another hilly long run.”


  1. Training Recap: 3/12 – 3/18 « - March 19, 2012

    […] 9.09 mile hilly long run (1:42:49, […]

  2. So incredibly sore. « - April 6, 2012

    […] paper, this run doesn’t seem all that much more difficult than my hilly 8 mile and 9 mile long runs. But in practice, it. kicked. my. […]

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