Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Running Chronicles: The Hills Are Alive!

6:00 am on Tuesday the alarm goes off. We meditated for twenty minutes and did our plank, crunches and clams with weights. We fueled with a banana and one piece of toast. We hydrated. After Saturday's training runs with hills, we planned to do a relatively flat course but somehow all of that changed once we got out on the roads. It was humid but the sun wasn't out. As we ran down Eliot Street, I suggested to Tom that we run up the hill that we used to run for hill repeats when we trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon. I hadn't run it in 6 years. Something inside of me broke free and I charged the hill remembering our personal trainer standing at the bottom of the hill with her stopwatch seeing if we could improve our time with each hill repeat. I was breathing hard and we stopped for a moment to catch our breath. As we took a right onto Reservoir Road we had another hill only this one not nearly as steep as the one on Cleveland Road. We could have gone around the Reservoir which would have been flat but instead we went out Beacon Street. It has subtle elevation.

We turned around at our halfway point. There were a few more hills; a downhill and then an uphill to our finishing line back at our house. As we came down Eliot Street my quads were on fire and my breathing was heavy. I haven't felt the burn like that in 6 years. I wanted to run the last 1.1 miles without stopping. I am training not only my body but also my mind to go the distance. I connected to something greater than myself and reminded myself that I am a woman transformed! I was running without any of the physical or emotional pain from my past. I only felt the pain that every runner feels when they are pushing themselves and pushing hard.

When Nike+ said Congratulations! I was pouring sweat and feeling this incredible sense of accomplishment. I noticed that I wasn't wheezing! My breaths were deep and full. I felt wonderfully nauseous and hungry at the same time. I iced my legs, had a glass of orange juice with ice, oatmeal, another piece of toast and a half of a banana. I allowed myself to bask in the glory of what I had just done. I pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. I went beyond what my mind was telling me and transcended what I was feeling in my body. This is the mental toughness that is crucial for marathon training.

I'm ready to incorporate hill repeats into my training again. On Saturday, however, we are going to run a flat course for our 7 miles. Easy runs are just as important as the hard runs; rest and recovery days are just as important as training days. It's all about balance!

But yesterday it was all about hills and being a hill seeker because life happens on the hills. The hills are alive!

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