Nowhere to go but up…and then down…and then back up again

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.

Get comfy cause this post is wooorrrddddyyyyyy.

When I said “I’ll be back later tonight to talk about Chicago Training” I obviously meant “I’ll catch up with you on Wednesday.”  My bad. Honestly, if Big Brother wasn’t on tonight I probably would not know what day it is and might think that I have it all together. That’s probably not good. Wowza.

Before I get all blah blah blah about the countdown to Chi Town let’s talk about last Sunday’s 20 miler. For the record I did NOT feel like running. Strike that. I did not feel like running LONG. Why? Because the thought of 20 plus miles of nonstop hill climbing in warm weather was not appealing. Not even a little bit.  

I did everything in my power to talk myself out of  this run. I am pretty sure I shed a tear or two and even tried to get my kids to tell me not to go. Lucky for me my husband was not buying into my dramatics and in the nicest possible way told me to get a move on. After almost 10 years together he knows when I need to be left alone or when I need a good swift kick in the hiney.  And then I went running.

It took me a good 4 miles to find a comfortable pace. I decided to set goals to see if it would mentally help me get through. Goal number 1 was to make it 10 miles. At mile 10 I would assess how I was feeling and set a new goal. I was cruising north alongside the beach approaching mile 9 (getting close to that magic number 10) when I thought I heard someone yelling my name. It took me a second and then… there she was. An angel on the side of the PCH. There stood my friend Chacha with a smile on her face. As soon as I saw that she was out on a run my mood changed. I was no longer alone! YES, a friend to run with is just what the doctor ordered. She told me she was ready to run 12 miles and off we went.

We chatted about everything from my seriously bad attitude, to work, to running, to blogs we read and races. We said hi to other runners and checked out all of the tourists that were camping on the beach for the long weekend. We talked so much that before we knew it we were at her end point. It was time for me to turn off to head home. Those miles we ran together went by SO FAST. Those miles were freaking awesome.

After a quick goodbye I headed back up the hill toward home. At mile 19 I made an SOS call for water and was rescued by L and the kids. I rehydrated, dug deep and finished 20 miles. And you know what? I could have kept going. I can’t believe I just said that.

So I went from whiney cry baby with a goal of surviving 10 miles to giddy runner girl by the end of the day. Thank you, thank you, thank you Chacha for getting me out of my run funk. I cannot be sure I would have finished my run without you.

So with that long run I ended up with close to 52 miles for the week and a lot more confidence. I have talked about that crappy thing called self-doubt in the past and sometimes it just takes a moment (or a person) to wipe it out. Let’s hope I can keep this going for the next few weeks because… ladies and gentleman…

31 days til Chicago

Flight is scheduled, hotel is booked and good eats are in store. I just want to get to the start line feeling healthy and ready to freaking run.

Plan for this week:

Monday- Rest (done)

Tuesday- 6.35 easy (done)

Weds- 8.10 (morning mile repeats, afternoon fast 5k) Done and crushed BTW

Thursday- Easy

Friday- Tempo

Saturday- Early Easy, Yoga

Sunday- Long

I have 2 solid weeks of hard training left and then it’s time to T-T-T-Taper. Woohoooo 🙂


Since this post was so dang wordy let’s wrap up with a few photos!

H-man started Kindergarten and Fall Baseball. This was his first practice. Kid is a natural. It is in his blood 🙂

My new stomping grounds. Although my commute is not the best I love this town. Love, love, love it.

My Mom celebrated her birthday yesterday (we had an awesome sushi party)! She is 53 years young. That handsome guy staring us down is my Dad. Hilarious.


Happy Hump Day. Friday can’t get here soon enough.