Friday, July 4, 2014

Hill Repeats

Yesterday (Day 3 of Napa training) ended up being a rest day, if one counts cleaning the house and crafting for a certain sweet boy's 7th birthday party this weekend as resting.  I initially intended on going to bed early last night to catch up on sleep and to prepare for an early morning hill repeat run.  However, I started cleaning, which then led to crafting and more crafting.  It was a productive evening though!

Spend, Save, Give jars for Nick's birthday.  More on these in a future post.  Inspired by these jars.

Minion treat bags for Nick's party
Today, day 4 of Napa training, called for hill repeats.  While I had been running frequently on a hilly trail earlier this spring and getting in a fair share of hills, I have never actually done hill repeats.  I went into today's run with equal parts trepidation and excitement.  I ended up not getting up early to go run, but I did get the repeats in this evening.  Fortunately our weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week and I am so thankful for that.  It was 66 degrees when I left the house this morning, so the boys and I drove to summer camp with the moon roof open.  When I headed out for my run, the weather was a bit warmer, but equally as gorgeous.

Perfect running weather
The plan called for a one mile warm-up, followed by four hill repeats, and concluding with a one mile cool down.  The hill was to be 1/4 mile in length with a moderate 4-6% grade.  I had a particular hill in mind and hoped it met the parameters.  As I ran up the first repeat, I realized that the hill met the length requirements and I was pleased to see a bench at the top.  I treated myself to a quick 10-15 second bench break after each incline.  The plan indicated that you could walk or run down each hill, but I decided to run down each after having taken a break before I headed down.

My legs definitely started to feel like mush and it was rather humorous passing people as I ran up and down.  I ran past a sweet older woman on the way downhill (for repeat #3, if I remember correctly).  As I came back up the hill for the final time, I noticed that she had stopped at the top to speak to a gentleman with two cute dogs.  As I ran past her again, she said Sweetie, are you doing the hill? to which I replied Yes, ma'am.  I'm doing 4 hill repeats and I'm on the last one."  She said Good for you and I appreciated the vote of confidence, especially since my legs felt like jello.

I walked much of my cool down mile and was glad to get back to my car and my iced tea!  I guess I figured since the weather was mild, that I wouldn't need my water, but I was regretting that decision before I even finished my warm-up.  Lesson learned!  The hill repeats were tough, but I felt really strong and great afterwards!

When I got home, Matt helped me calculate the grade of the hill I ran to see if it met the requirements.  See, it pays to be married to a math-y, engineer-y man!  Love you, babe!  I started my hill repeat at an elevation of 452 feet and finished at 522 feet, which was a difference of 70 feet.  Given that 1/4 is 1320 feet, I divided 70 ft by 1320 to determine the grade of the hill.  The grade of the hill I ran was 5.3%, which was perfect based on the 4-6% called for in the training plan. 

After my hill repeats, I had an appointment with Doug at Evolve Personal Fitness to discuss my goals and stressors and then I was able to participate in a small group training session.  It was a great session with energy circuits that were pretty fun. My two favorite exercises were the floor ladder, where you ran through as fast as you can both front ways and sideways, and "the sled" which is essentially just that.  A sled with several weighted discs that you drag across the floor.  It was quite fun!

After the group session, the trainer was kind enough to show me some foam rolling exercises and some good stretches for my hip flexors.  I was having a bit of IT band pain today, which is out of the ordinary for me.  It was pretty uncomfortable so it was nice to massage that a bit and work out the kinks.

I will say, it was a little intense to schedule a personal training session on the same day as hill repeats, much less back-to-back.  #RookieMistake  As I mentioned, though, I had hoped to go run this morning, so the plan was for the two workouts to be several hours apart.  I don't feel too bad at the moment, but we will see what tomorrow brings. 

I was saddened today to hear of the passing of Louis Zamperini.  I listened to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand while I was training for the half this spring and I loved the story of Louis' life before, during, and after World War II!  I cannot say enough about this book.  It is a phenomenal, inspiring story and Louis was quite an amazing man.  If you are looking for a wonderful read this summer, I highly recommend Unbroken.  The hardback edition and audio book are available now and I discovered that the paperback version will be out July 29th.  Note: I was not asked to review or promote the book.  I am simply a huge fan and wanted to share it with others.

Wishing those of you in the U.S. a happy (early) 4th of July!  

"You were born to run. Maybe not that fast, maybe not that far, maybe not that efficiently as others. But to get up and move, to fire up that entire energy-producing, oxygen-delivering, bone-strengthening process we call running."