Hills and Humility

Alex and I have a 10K coming up in September. Given that we’re moving to a new state between now and then, we’re not taking training too seriously. We picked the 10K distance instead of the half marathon for this very reason – we’re realistic about how much we’re willing to do when we have a lot of stress on our plates. 

With limited time in mind, I’ve decided that incorporating hill workouts into our routine will give us the most bang for our buck. We did our first one this week, and what a dose of humility! Five hill repeats totally kicked my butt, even with significant rest time between them.

We did five repeats of a 0.16 mile hill, with a walk down for recovery. The steepness ranges from 3% to 25%, with the majority of it falling between 11% and 15%. It’s a steep hill. And running up it fast (“fast”) made my lungs feel like they were going to explode. But they didn’t, and here I am to tell the tale. 

In addition to pushing through the physical challenge, I could feel the mental resistance creep up.

“This is too hard.”

“You’re never going to be better at this.”

“What’s the point?” 

Those voices were louder than I’d like them to be. And at the top of the fourth repeat, I told Alex I was done. But as we walked back to the bottom I thought, “I have one more in me and I can do this.” So one more we did. It was hard. The mental critic didn’t exactly get quieter. 

But then I reminded myself that I haven’t done that kind of workout before. And that I’m not going to get better at it by quitting. So next week, we’ll hit the hills again. And the week after that. And hopefully continue the trend when we move to Seattle. At some point, I’ll be able to go faster or further or not feel as much like I’m going to collapse afterwards. When that happens, I’ll push a little harder to find the next edge because the only way to quiet those voices is to keep at something. Eventually, I’ll be the one kicking the hill’s butt! 

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