For the past few Saturday mornings, I’ve played “Choir Mom”. The Dude has been singing since he was 6 years old, moving from being the one of a few boys in a children’s choir of 80 voices to 1 of 65 voices in a male choir. It’s been pretty exciting to watch him grow, adapt to his changed voice and take leadership within the organization. This fall, when the opportunity came along for me to give back, I jumped at it. So I spent a few Saturday mornings measuring boys for their uniforms and helping out at the choir, which somehow this led to car-pooling with another family. Don’t get me wrong; this is a good thing as it gets one more car off the road and saves me an hour of my time every Saturday. But it’s also meant that I’ve had to move my morning run to a later start.
Last night, one of my training partners, Monica, texted me: hills tomorrow? At the same time, I got a message from the car-pooling family offering to do the morning drop-off. This meant I could run earlier. It was a clear message to both: yes! I love it when things fall in place.
This morning, I ran up to Lions Valley for our hill workout. I don’t like hills but, like medicine that tastes bad, they are good for me. I was worried about today as I haven’t done repeats since this time last year and the hill we picked is a beast. But, with a race on a hilly course only a few weeks away, I knew that I needed to train on them. And there is nothing better than getting through a workout than getting through that workout with a friend.
Monica’s coach had sent us a plan. He suggested a ladder, which could have come in handy on the hills, but he had another idea in mind – a few 300’s and 600’s, a few continuous hill repeats, and more of the same shorter sprints.
“Ummmm….Greg knows that I haven’t really done much speed work in the past year, right?” I asked.
The hills did not disappoint me. I wanted a tough workout and I got it. We started at the end of a gravel path, which stretched out the hill an extra 30 metres. “Really?” she questioned. “This far back?” Of course I did as I secretly hoped that the longer flatter start would somehow throw some extra momentum into my legs to help me spring up the last 100 metres. The first time we ran up, I chased Monica and yelled – just to hear my voice echo off the walls of the trail. I felt like a kid but, then, feared that I might wake up someone who lives on a street near the top of the hill. As soon as we got to the top, we turned around and went back down for me.
“You really want to go this far back, do you”?” Monica asked. “Hills and a psycho.” Then she proceeded to share her theory on progress. “You need to be crazy if you want to get better. Look at Einstein. People thought he was crazy but look at what he did.”
She was right. If I want to improve in my running, I need to be crazy – crazy to know what I want to do and just crazy enough to push myself in that direction, to do what it takes to get there. So if pulling the start of our 300m climb back to make it 330m is crazy then, yes, that’s me.
Definitely crazy. Now I just have to figure out how to channel that craziness into progress.