Good runs, bad runs, isn’t all just timing?

At some point on this hill I will question why I did this race

Today’s run (street): 2.4 miles

I looked at a course map for the Oyster Bay 5K that I plan to run on Saturday, October 15. The first 1.3 miles are all uphill and, according to Gmaps and MapMyTri, the overall elevation gain is greater than James Street, the bane of Cow Harbor racers. The saving grace, if there is one, is that this hill stretches a lot farther than James Street, and that may mean that the grade is lower. I’m hoping that’s true.

My run today was a little disappointing. After good experiences on Wednesday and Thursday, where I had great energy and form, I had hoped for another good run. I can’t explain it exactly, but I felt unbalanced and under-powered this morning. I even modified my route, shortening its length to save time after a late start. As I was running, I thought about whether I’d be the “Thursday me” or the “Friday me” when I go out on the hilly course a week from now.

So, what does it mean when you run well for days and then you don’t? In this case, I don’t think it means that much. I probably needed more rest and it wouldn’t hurt for me to stretch a little. Sometimes it’s timing of your performance curve, good days and bad. Right now I’m hoping this 5K coincides with a good running day. With that hill, I’m going to need all the advantage I can get.

Weekend video report: The Emerging Runner Hill Challenge

Today’s workout (treadmill): 24 minutes

Saturday has been a busy day and an early morning appointment prevented me from getting out for my run. That was too bad as conditions were perfect at 8:00 AM when I would have run. By the time I got free, it was already well after lunch. I had just read about TrailRunner Magazine’s Hill Challenge that is going on at the Outdoor Retailer show right now in Salt Lake City. I thought that might be the perfect workout for me, given my limited time.

The TrailRunner hill challenge pits two people against each other on treadmills where they compete to see who can cover the most distance in 15 minutes while running at a 10% incline. 15 minutes seems like a short enough time to endure almost anything but I’m not a 20-something super athlete and I know my limits. Instead I did the Emerging Runner Hill Challenge which involved running 24 minutes with increasing speeds and inclines in the first half, followed by decreasing speeds and elevation during the second.

I began the run at 4 MPH with a zero incline and at 00:59 bumped to 1% and 4.1 MPH respectively. I continued this way until I reached 10% and 5.1 MPH which I held for a couple of minutes. After that I decreased by .1 MPH and 1% incline until I finished. I kept my Amphipod hand bottle filled with icy water at the ready and drank liberally throughout my workout. I was sweating profusely by the 10 minute mark and, despite the increasingly easier conditions the run still felt like hard work. 

It was great to complete a hard workout in less than 30 minutes — perfect for the time I had. Thanks to my daughter (and camera person) I was able to file this weekend’s video update. I hope to get out for a long run on Sunday. Let’s see if the rain will hold off, at least throughout the morning.