Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hills: What a Pain in the Butt

You know you haven't run hills for a while when you wake up the morning after with the equivalent of a butt hangover.  That visual not working for you?  Then, suffice it to say, my gluteus maximus is feeling more gluteus minimus this morning.

I was up for a 45-minute run yesterday at a pace that would be a bit faster than my slower long runs.  (Like the way I am so scientific with my training?  It's probably a part of why I am an "average" runner and not Speedy Gonzales.)  So, with a light snowfall gracing the day, I took off from LG's pre-school and decided I would run a hilly route I haven't visited since pre-marathon training.  I don't know what made me decide to try hills on the same day I wanted to run a bit faster than normal, but usually when I get an idea in my head it is best to follow through on it.  So, off I went.

The route is almost five miles long and follows a length of river in our little town.  It's a nice route to run, and with the snow falling and not too much traffic, it was a really peaceful 45 minutes.  It was just what I needed after dropping LG off at pre-school.  Seeing him trying to be friends with other kids and having them shy away from him left me sad, and I needed to clear that out of my head.  It's tough when your kids are not shy at all, but others are.

I saw an amazing bald eagle flying overhead on my run.
I managed to run the entire distance at an average 9:32 pace.  My target was 9:30, so I was really happy with my effort.  Dragging my butt up and down five hills left me feeling like I had had a really decent workout, and it took my mind off of everything but the current effort.  It was great.

At the end of the run, my legs felt heavy and used up, but after walking it out a bit and then doing fifteen easy minutes on the elliptical, as well as some stretching, they felt okay again - well, more or less.

Somehow running always changes the way I look at things.  Picking LG up from school we went to the gymnastics center and saw that some of his school friends' parents had had the same idea.  Watching him play for an hour with the other boys and girls put my mind at ease that he does get along with his peers.  It never fails to amaze me that in any given situation, you can either see good things happening or bad.  Life really is what you make of it: not just in regards to what you accomplish but also how you perceive those accomplishments or challenges.

After the workout yesterday, I did end up putting on compression socks for the rest of the day and icing twice.  My shin feels okay today, although both knees are a bit sore.  The big complainer is the bottom, though.  Clearly it is telling me that more hills are in order.

On tap this week is a reduced time/mileage week - 70% of current effort.  Then on Saturday, I have a five-mile race.  I am excited for that, but I haven't quite worked out what my goal for it should be.  I want to aim for more than just finishing, but I think I will wait to see how I feel later this week before settling on a goal.

Happy Running!

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