Hills and a Little Bit of Crazy

Lions Valley BridgeFor 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.

Lions valley hill - the startMonica’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.

The second time we climbed the hill, I listened to my breathing get harder and harder with each step. Lions Valley - after hill repeats  “Maybe my breathing isn’t that bad,” I thought.  “Maybe it just sounds bad because it is echoing.”

Definitely crazy.   Now I just have to figure out how to channel that craziness into progress.


14 Replies to “Hills and a Little Bit of Crazy”

  1. I always hated speed work during cross country! Especially when we ran out to run one of the hills nearby. In fact its really close to where I’ll be living now. maybe I should find my crazy and start putting into my running rotation. Really liked that quote by the way thanks for sharing!

    “You need to be crazy if you want to get better.”

  2. I like your logic about the hills 🙂 Great job getting out there! I miss running hills in my old neighborhood. I have to get out and find some to run since we’ve moved. You’re motivating me to get back at it.

  3. I have this hill right next to my house that I use to gauge my fitness. Right now, I am pretty out of shape and can’t get up it without stopping. It is such a motivator to get back to where I want to be with my running. Hopefully the next time you tackle this area and workout, you will be breathing a little easier!

    1. I do them repeatedly. Since we did 300’s and 600’s before and after, we only ran the hill twice. Usually, we aim for 4-6 repeats (sometimes with rest, sometimes without) in a workout. We always run about 3K to warm up first and another 3K to cool down.

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