When we moved to our current neighborhood I was so excited to run in a new place. It is beautiful, close to the ocean, has a lot of trails and is amazingly quiet. The only thing I didn’t notice is that the place has a LOT of hills. Big ones. Yes, I drove up and down them to get to our house. I guess I never put it together that it meant I would have to run them. Denial maybe?
A few days after our move I went on my first run. And it was hard. And I felt…defeated.
I had to stop more than once. I was pounding water. I was sucking wind. Even felt a little pukey. Ok, a lot. It was if I had never run a mile in my entire life.
I went from runs that looked like this:
To runs that looked like this:
It felt like I was starting all over again. I guess in a way I was. I had to learn to run in a whole new way. I had to do work.
I read articles about shortening my stride, slowing my pace, easing into the hill and then owning it. Most days it felt really sucky. Some days I talked myself out of it all together and headed to flat land. Then there were days that I wo-maned up and felt like a champ. I am pretty sure I looked like I was dying most of the time but I kept at it.
Weeks went by and those hills that used to own me slowly became my friends. While the runs didn’t get easier, I no longer had to take midhill breaks (VICTORY!). I could feel myself getting stronger. My pace slowly started to get better and instead of dreading my long runs I embraced the beauty surrounding me. The sun coming up in the morning is breathtaking when I am able open my eyes and look at it
Months went by and I saw my race times improve. I had a short distance race on a flat course and felt like I was soaring. It was the hills. They made me a faster, stronger runner.
Love them or hate them they are good for us. Unless you have an injury where in hill training is a “no no” get out there and take on your nemesis. And at that moment when you crest your first mountain put both hands in the air, sing “We are the champions” and feel your strong. You can thank me (or punch me in the face) later.
I have a SUPER SWEET giveaway coming tomorrow. Wheeee! I’m so excited I can barely stand it.