The schedule called for 8 x 400 meter uphill tempo runs. Actually it called for 6 x 200 but I was feeling a bit ambitious, nay, nuts, today so the workout was extended a bit. I jogged about 2 miles to the base of a fairly steep hill and then started to run up it to gauge 400 meters with my Garmin Forerunner. As I was running up, I didn't even get 200 meters before it started to level off. Damn! What to do now?
I ran back home and jogged back to Smetana road which has a hill to it but not as steep. So, starting at the crest, I jogged down and what do you know? From crest to base, the hill is 400 meters. By this point I've run about 3.5 miles more than needed but there's nothing wrong with that.
I was amazingly strong during these uphill runs. I had a lot of reservation about this run today because I hadn't done any hill work in quite a while. But I kept a few key items in mind:
- Run smooth. Be fluid.
- Think positive: "I love hills!"
- Don't tighten up anything, especially your upper body.
Each run up the hill I also kept in mind a different person who's helped me get to where I am today. Those people who have helped shape me, encourage me, pick me up, love me, and supported me. Immediately, my mom's mom (Maxene) came to mind.
This woman was as loving as any grandmother could be. She had about 2 dozen grandkids and remembered every one of their birthdays. About 2 years ago she suffered a stroke and had congestive heart failure. It was a very sad time but through this she remained a fighter. This past January I ran Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge at Walt Disney World, Orlando, and dedicated the race to her honor! She was a great woman who has been through a lot in her life and the least I could do as a grandchild of hers is honor her life by doing the best I could with mine. After the race she had a mile wide grin on her face (the first time she'd smiled in close to a year) and for a few weeks afterwords, her health started improving for the first time since the stroke. I don't think the world could have offered anything to make me feel more happy than I did knowing I honored my grandmother. Unfortunately, about 3 months ago, she passed away after the battle became too much for her. But she knew I loved her and appreciated all she had done in her life and that's all that mattered.
Anyway, back to the hills. Each of the 8 runs had 8 different people in mind. Each kept me motivated as I powered up the hills. Whenever pain came in, I recited one simple line "Pain is weakness leaving the body." and owned each of thos runs.
I'd include a map of the route but something tells me it'd be the most boring map yet: a straight line with one bump because I had to jump out of the way of a moron driver who was about to hit me.
Why do I run? To honor those I love. To love those I honor. And because I love hills!
UPDATE: Here's the route. Thought you'd like to see where the hill is.