Monday, September 15, 2014

Last training run before my 5k race

I had been feeling very strong while training and this past week, it finally caught up with me.  Feeling achy and drained.  I decided since I had been pushing it a bit, to take a few extra days off for rest.  I wanted to get out and do one more full practice 5k run before Saturday's race.

I got to the park a little later than usual, but enjoyed a slow start to the morning.  I started off on my warm up walk and realized I didn't have my Garmin with me.  I had planned on shooting for some more level training ground today, but this wasn't going to be the case.  Since there was a 5k route I could use without being dependent on my Garmin, I turned around and walked to the route start.  The route begins going up an incline, levels occasionally, has multiple uphill climbs in the middle, and is uphill at the end, with a nice downhill run at the very very last bit.

As I jogged up the starting hill I was already feeling like I was going to need to stop and I hadn't gone a quarter mile.  I set my mind and determined that was NOT going to be an option this morning.  I was so grateful when it began to level out.  I continued on feeling very sluggish and tired.  I just didn't seem to be able to shake it, but I was not going to stop.  With every passing landmark, I would recognize how far I had gone and how far I still had to go.  It didn't matter, I was going to continue.  On and on, slowly up another hill, shortening my stride, slowing my pace, getting the breathing under control, I pressed onward.

There would be three decent hills going down before some of the larger uphill stretches.  I would generally take full advantage of these to take in lungfuls of fresh, clean air.  Today, approaching the first downhill stretch, I was ready to enjoy it and take a deep breath.  Blasting past me right at the same moment was a large dump truck with all its black and smoky exhausts.  Instead of gulping in clean air, I was holding my breath and trying to catch small mouthfuls through my hand to try and filter out the stench.  Recovering, I slowly climbed up the next large hill looking forward to getting some fresh air on the next downhill stretch.

Here it comes, the second downhill stretch.  I'm going to fill my lungs with the sweet stuff now!  Rumble, boom....what the...?  Another dump truck comes barreling by.  Another downhill goal filled with black and smelly smoke.  Covering my mouth and plowing ahead, I stayed the course.  Third time's the charm.  And it was.

Without realizing it, my running had been getting stronger, the legs feeling better than when I started out today.  I was tired, but I did feel like I had hit my stride.  Heading to the third downhill stretch, I really needed to make it work.  Following, was the toughest stretch for me on this route and I knew once I got through it, I was on the homestretch.

No more dump trucks!  I took advantage of this to push the speed and breath in the fresh, clean air before heading up the hill.  Here it is, and boy is it ever tough!  You've got this!  Just a little bit more and you're flying downhill for the home stretch.  Got it!  Heading down that hill and on the homestretch, I knew this was one run I was going to be okay to have end.  I was also going to be very proud of finishing it.  The more challenging the run, the more rewarding the finish!

After completing today, I was pretty tired and thirsty, so I took some time to rest, recover and hydrate before heading back to the car.  On the way back I took time to enjoy the last of the summer wildflowers and the start of the Fall wildflowers.

I got into the car and opened the glove box to grab something and lo and behold, look what I found in there!!

Hill training is GOOD! Even if it wasn't the original plan!


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