Thursday, May 8, 2014

Returning to my old stomping grounds

I decided tonight to go for a run after work in the hopes of having slightly cooler weather.  After the warm "runch" the other day, I thought my body would appreciate cooler temps.  However, I still forgot my water bottle and my sweatband; fail.  I also decided to go run at our favorite family spot for summer evening walks.  We spent a lot of time at this particular trail last summer when we were going for family walks practically every night after work/school.

When I first began the Couch-to-5K program, I would run short jaunts on the trail, but never the full loop.  This was primarily for two reasons.  1) I had not built up my stamina to run a mile at that point, much less the 2.5 miles that encompasses the full loop and 2) this particular trail is very hilly and I always preferred to walk up the big hills.  In fact, one day last year, I overheard some fellow runners commenting on the fact that this particular trail is one of the most difficult cross-country courses.  One local running store calls it an "infamous cross country course" with a "tough 5K loop."  I chose to return to this trail to run tonight to start training on significant hills for Napa.  My main running trail currently is uber flat, although my normal lunchtime route almost always includes at least one gnarly hill, if not more, but I still feel the need to train on more hills.

Truth be told, I've been a little scared to return to the "infamous" course and have been avoiding it like the plaque. I told myself to "suck it up, buttercup" and I wanted to see if I could go back tonight, nearly a year later in my running journey, and push myself.  I am happy to report that I ran the whole outer loop (about 2.5 miles) tonight including all of the beastly hills!  It wasn't easy by any means and my pace up the hills was glacial, but dang it, I did it and I am pretty freaking proud.  It's a huge improvement considering this time last year, I could only run about .4 of a mile on that course and that was only downhill!

I definitely think this route is going to be a frequent one on my road to Napa and I'm certainly going to have to incorporate hill repeats in my training plan, which I have also been putting off.  That and speed work (and cross-training and strength training) will help my overall running and is definitely needed for Ragnar!

I also had a bit of a light bulb moment tonight on my run.  Running Napa Ragnar will help me cross off California on my list of states I've run in on my journey to run a race in all 50 states, which is pretty exciting!  I think I'm going to have to work on a graphic of the U.S. with the states I've run in highlighted so I can track my progress.

Lastly, I had to share a little something sweet.  It's no secret that I'm obsessed with frozen yogurt right now and the geniuses at Tutti Frutti decided to open a location about a half a block from my office.  It's fair to say that they get a hefty chunk of business from my co-workers and I.  Today, we made our second trip this week to Tutti Frutti (shh, I'm also going tomorrow) and I got my new favorite combination:

  • birthday cake frozen yogurt (where has this been all my life??  It's the one and only flavor that got me to switch from my beloved vanilla)
  • a dollop of hot fudge (a vast improvement over my hot fudge consumption of late.  I was a little heavy handed previously with the hot fudge pump)
  • A smidgen of fresh raspberries and blueberries
  • A smattering of chopped peanuts
It's divine and oh so pretty before it melts!  

Here's to continuing to run uphill to get stronger (and to burn off some calories to enjoy Tutti Frutti)!

"Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get."