Last week I had two fitness firsts – I ran with a running club for the first time, and I did a legit hill workout on the treadmill.
One of my co-workers was nice enough to invite me to run with his club last Sunday – the L-Street Running Club. They’re in the middle of their fall marathon training season, so they do a long run every Sunday. Last Sunday’s course was 14 miles! As you know, if you’ve been reading my blog, the farthest I’ve ever run is 13.3 miles, so naturally I was a little nervous about committing to 14. Also, I hadn’t done a long run in 2 weeks, since I gave myself a little break after my half on August 5. Nonetheless, I figured it was a good opportunity and I should give it a shot.
It turned out to be a really great experience. My co-worker ran with me for about 10 miles. I usually run alone, so I wasn’t sure that I’d like running with other people. What if I wheezed too loudly? What if I was too slow or *gasp* needed to walk? What if he wanted to talk the whole way? Well, none of those things happened. We chatted a little along the way but not so much that I couldn’t catch my breath. We kept up a solid 10 min/mile pace for the most part and I felt really good so it wasn’t hard for me to stick with that pace, and I wasn’t even wheezing that much. It was actually nice to have someone to talk to, and it made the miles go by faster. Also, running with someone took a lot of the mental gymnastics out of it for me. When I run alone, the devil on my shoulder constantly tells me to walk – “Your knee hurts, you should probably walk. You have a stomach cramp, you really shouldn’t run through that. You seem tired, why not slow down and catch your breath.” When I was running with my co-worker, of COURSE I wasn’t going to walk. It wasn’t even an option. So the devil on my shoulder was mostly silent, and it was glorious. The miles just flew by.
The course was mapped out ahead of time, and it went all through Boston, including a few miles on my usual running route along the Charles. We started in Southie, went all through the waterfront area, past Faneuil Hall, around the Garden, along the Cambridge and then Boston sides of the river, past the Public Garden, and then back through Southie. It was early in the morning (7:30) so there wasn’t much traffic. It was a lot of fun to run through some different parts of the city like that. And the club had 4-5 water stops set up for us along the way, which was awesome. They’re running 20 miles tomorrow so I think I’ll pass on that, but I’ll definitely consider joining the club if I ever decide to run a marathon (not likely).
Here’s the map from the run. My moving pace was closer to 10 min/mile than this shows…the slower miles had water breaks. I did walk up a couple brutal hills at the very end so that didn’t help either. Overall I was really proud of how well I did, especially since it was my longest run ever!
Then, I ran an intense (for me) hill workout on the treadmill on Wednesday. I never run hills so this is totally new for me. I had never once put the treadmill on an incline until this month, and I was just testing the waters with it prior to this Wednesday. I had a 6 mile run planned, and I wasn’t really sure I was going to incorporate the hill intervals until I got going. This is what I ended up doing:
1 mile warmup, 0 incline, 6 mph
5 intervals of 0.5 miles at 3.0 incline followed by 0.5 miles at 0 incline, 6mph
The last two hills were super hard. I covered 405 vertical feet over the course of this workout. I was pretty proud of myself for doing that. It was one of the harder self-directed workouts I’ve done. I’m running the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco in October, and the hills on that course are insane. If it’s the same as last year, there are two ~300ft hills in the middle of the course, and they look almost vertical. It’s going to be really hard. Soooo I figured it was in my own best interest to start including some hills in my workouts. I have to find somewhere to run hills outside, but the treadmill will do for now.
We’re moving into cooler late summer/early fall weather here in Boston, which is perfect running weather. I’m pretty excited about that!