Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Life: The Hill Training Challenge!

Today, I was okay with the six 100m strides and my first set of four 300m at 6:30min pace - really, I was. But then coach told me to jog over, about 1/4 mile, to the base of a steep incline for hill training.

Jogging over, I didn't know how challenging this hill training would be. Every time I have ever tried to run this hill fast, I could only squeeze out a 8:10min pace. I convinced myself, "I can run it faster. I can do this, I'm strong. It can't be that bad. I can do this!"

I got to the bottom of the hill and started my run. As I climbed up, I started screaming in my head, "You can do this. Count to four. Again. Run faster. Relax. Breathe. Run. C'mon, move legs, move, let's go."
I ran 1/4 mile straight up, keeping a 7:45-8min pace. When I got to the top, I thought my chest was going to burst. And my legs, OMG, they felt so heavy.

All I heard, as I approached the top of the hill: Slap, slap, slap.
You know, that sound - 
That weird one your sneakers make when your feet hit the pavement flat 
because your legs are trying to remember how to run. 
It's complete and total proprioception! 
Your brain has to concentrate on your leg movement
to make sure your legs move the right way. 

"Wait, okay girl, you did it! You got to the top in a speed you never thought you could keep up on that hill! 7:45 min pace! YES! Okay, don't lose it: You gotta do this two more times."

Aaaagh! The complete and utter exhaustion, just trying to get to the top of that hill. Jogging down - heck that was God's blessing: The sun was shining, the sky was clear blue and the air was a crisp 42*F. "I got this. I'm gonna 'kill this hill' YES" Repeat, "You can do this. You're a winner. You are strong."

And, when the hill training was done, I ran back over to the track for the second set of four 300m at 6:30 pace. Really, coach? Another set?

After my mile cool down, I felt good. 
I felt strong.

I thought about how much I love running and how it mirrors life in so many ways:
You are stuck facing a challenge. 
You may have friends, family, a coach, a counselor or a therapist behind you. 
They are pushing you, but ultimately, 
It's you! 
You gotta face that challenge. 
You gotta do the work. 
Along the way, you may find some blessings. 
But you gotta do the work to find those blessings.

So what are you waiting for?
Face your challenge: 
Today, it is the day to FACE YOUR HILL. 
Put one leg in front of the other, concentrate, and climb to the top! 
I promise you, when you get to the top, 
you will be exhausted, 
but you will be a winner!
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