Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lookin' for hills, in all the wrong places

ORN: 8 miles, with 6x400m hills @ 2:15 average

When our youngest was about 4 years old, he had a “Big Wheels” and we often walked in the neighborhood as he rode. One evening, he came to a place where a tree had been planted too close to the sidewalk and, over time, the roots had lifted the concrete. We saw him power up and over the bump, then stop, turn around and exclaim “Look, a hill!” Gretchen and I just sighed, feeling sad that we were raising children in a place with a topography so flat that a single maple tree could create a “hill.”

I’m happy to report that Matt is now a well-adjusted 18 year old, despite this childhood ordeal. Yet, the topography has not adjusted one inch. So, it took some thinking for me to figure out how to handle many of the summer runs on my training plan that call for hill running. As strange as this will seem to many of you, hills are hard to find.

After some thinking, I finally had a creative solution. A
city park, built on an area that drains into the famous Wabash River which runs through our fair city, has a recently-improved trail surface that snakes down a long hill. I laid out a 400m section of it last weekend that had a challenging but not knee-buckling incline and ran it this morning.

What a treat.

Mind you, it was 2.5 miles of flat running to even get to this hill, but that proved a good warm up. Upon descending onto the trail, the environment transformed from a morning of hot, muggy asphalt reflection into a cool, shady, wildlife-laden oasis. The visual pleasure was immense.

The plan called for 6x400m of hills at a 10km race pace. Since I have no clue right now what my 10k race pace would be, I simply ran it reasonably hard. The splits were pretty consistent, averaging 2:15. Later, I checked
The McMillan Running Calculator which would put my target time at 2:10 for these splits. So, I’ll try for that next time.

One week down training for the
Rocket City Marathon. Feelin’ good and perseverin’, even here in the flatlands.


David said...

Good for you to find a hill. For a December marathon, you sure are starting plenty early. I know it will keep you busy and I hope you don't burn out.

Wes said...

LOL. You can borrow some of mine anytime you want :-)

IronWaddler said...

I totally sympathize with the hill thing. There is only one place that I know of close to me to find a hill also.Do you know the elevation map of the marathon? Keep up the good training!

Darrell said...

I think I remember Happy Hollow Rd. Good for you for finding your hill and a nice warm up run to go with it.

Hope you enjoyed your Father's Day.

Unknown said...

As I sit here this morning before my run I am trying to devise a route that does not have any major hills and I cannot seem to do it unless I run a 1/2 mile section down near the lake back and forth. Of course I'll have to drive the mile down to the lake, or else I will have to come back up a major hill to get to the house. I wish I could send you a few of the hills near my house so I can have a flat run once a week if I choose. Way to seek out the hills.