Thanks to those who entertained my ridiculous ramblings on improving my hill running and provided suggestions. Bottom line, it seems like running hills and practicing form is the only way to really improve at them– surprise! I also acknowledge that half the battle is mental, with hill running and running in general. The mind controls the body, and I’ve certainly experienced times mid-race when I let negative thoughts get the best of me for no reason, slowing my stride and becoming defeated. Conversely, the best races and runs are often the ones where I’ve been so positive, optimistic, hopeful, and worry-free. Maybe I need to stop thinking about it too much to avoid selling myself short, since it can often be amazing what the body can achieve when the mind doesn’t place limitations.
Anyway, this past week was a good one– complete with MORE hills and a fun little tempo/race at the Cherry Tree 10 Miler.
Week of 2/10:
- M: Easy 8 with Veronica + BodyPump class at NYSC
- T: Morning hill workout 6 x Central Park West side hill (86th to 92nd) + warmup/cooldown
- The prescribed workout on tap was 6 repeats of a bowl-shaped hill workout, starting at 86th street in Central Park and heading north to 92nd street (right around entrance to tennis courts, around .36 mi), recovering around .17 mi, and then doing that same stretch in the opposite direction.
- I actually preferred this hill workout vs. Cat Hill or Harlem Hill repeats because each interval contained a bit of uphill and bit of downhill, like you’re running a U-shaped bowl. I liked that they were slightly longer and better mimic Boston’s rolling hills. Yes, I still lagged behind the group but tried to work on my form and getting each repeat faster. Going north, my pace dropped from 6:38 to 6:32, and going south my pace dropped from 6:58 to 6:49. Could be better, but we also started at like 6am and it was 17 feels like 4 degrees out. Brr.
- W: Easy 7 solo on Randall’s Island & East River path
- R: Off, skipped team tempo to rest up for Sunday
- F: Easy 7.25 with Alex & Jacy. It had snowed, sleeted, rained, thunderstormed, etc. on Thursday so we were a bit unsure how the footing in Central Park would be early Friday morning, but we decided to brave it and be crazy together. Getting to and from the park was a total slushfest, but the packed snow made for easy footing and it was quite peaceful to run against the sunrise and fresh snow in the near-empty park.
- S: Off, and I didn’t change out of spandex all day watching Olympics & Millrose Games
- S: Cherry Tree 10 Mile Race in 1:12:33 (recap below) + warmup/cooldown
Total: 48.75 miles, pretty consistent with last week before hopping up to 50+ this week.
On Sunday, I headed to Prospect Park for the PPTC Cherry Tree 10 Miler. I did this race two years ago when training for Boston (sigh, I miss being in quicker shape…and wearing shorts) and enjoyed the low-key atmosphere and change of scenery. And, it was only $25 which is a cheap compared to ever-increasing entry fees for other races. While many other CPTC teammates signed up for the relay option they have too, my friends Alex, Meredith and I decided to be crazy enough to tackle the whole 10.
I didn’t really have any expectations leading into this race besides using it as a long tempo effort and keeping the pace steady but not full out racing. I knew there would be no way I’d come close to the 1:06 I ran in 2012, so it was nice to not really have pressure against a time goal. As you can see above, the never-ending snow and freezing temperatures made for less than ideal conditions in the park. While not terribly icy (thank goodness!) the residual snow and patchiness made for a very sloppy course and I never felt fully confident with my footing or smoothly settled into a groove. But I sure was thankful that this year’s race souvenir was a neck warmer–I would have paid a good $25 for that alone! It was around 20ish degrees and there were actually frozen ice chunks in mine after the race. Yuck.
Prospect Park overall is pretty forgiving– the uphill is far longer and more gradual than any hill in Central Park but certainly not as steep. However, it’s complimented by a nice downhill that evens things out in my opinion. Three loops of the park was pretty mind-numbing, but thankfully Meredith and I ran together the majority of the race which was great. She pulled away on the last uphill and really motivated me to hang on and finish the last mile strong to keep her in sight. As always, running with friends always helps the miles fly and pushes me to keep pace. I may have joined the dozens of kids happily sledding in the snow otherwise…
The first loop was a bit quicker than intended, so we just tried to settle in to find a steady pace. The paces are a bit inconsistent given the rolling up and down terrain, but I felt the effort was pretty consistent throughout. Unfortunately, I had to stop on the 6th mile to tie my shoelace and lost a few seconds there– whoops! I was definitely feeling beat towards the end and was just happy to get my last mile under 7.
We had planned to run a longer cool down back into Manhattan via the bridges, but the sidewalks seemed a bit too treacherous and icy so we stuck to (yet another) loop of the park and called it a day. Since I’m not quite ready to tackle anything too long, it was still perfect for me and I ended the day with a bit over 16 miles.
Overall, I’m happy with this effort and pace but just wish it didn’t feel so hard. I’d like 7:15 pace to feel a little more casual tempo at this point in training, but that’s okay. It was a bit slower than the 10 Mile Run to the Brewery I did about a month ago, but that race was also pancake flat, a tad warmer, and not slushy. Even though I’ve got a month of training and workouts under my belt now, it’s tough not to compare since I felt pretty strong that day. While every workout or run might not be the best, I need to remind myself that progress is a slow road. I’m glad I did the ‘race’, and it’s one step closer to building fitness.
While this week brought more snow yesterday (whyyyyy!) I’m excited for milder temperatures to roll through for this weekend’s long run! There’s still a bit of lingering soreness in my legs and calves from Sunday that I’m trying to kick so I can have a strong 8 mile tempo tomorrow and finally crack the 50 mile/week barrier. T-how many days until Spring?