Just like last Monday, I am participating in the #bestfoot Monday link-up hosted by the awesome ladies at Run to the Finish, Sweet Life Ericka and Darwinian Fail. Please check out their blogs as well as the other linkers!
Most runners I know have "a hill". This is a hill that you study and ponder but don't quite feel ready to face. I actually have two of these hills that I think to myself when driving them "I'm going to get you one day."
Well, this past weekend, I officially ticked one of them off my list. I have been running my long (6 miles right now) runs in Forest Park, which is about 2 miles from my house. Forest Park is a HUGE urban park (bigger than Central Park) and is a really amazing benefit of living in St. Louis. There is an incredible amount of things to do and see there, so running it is always a new experience.
One of the best parts, for a runner, is the fact that there is a foot path for walkers/runners that circumnavigates the entire park, forming a nice 5.66 mile loop. Normally I begin running south from my preferred starting point so to avoid "the Hill" which is the western edge of the park along Skinker Blvd. It has a climb of about 219 feet in .7 miles. I know that's not huge but it is a long constant hill. I decided that this Saturday, I was instead going to begin my run north and face it.
The start of the run was good, but we are quickly moving away from ideal running temps here into hot/humid conditions, even fairly early in the morning. I could really feel it on the run as it seemed like the sun was much hotter and the air was thicker...and it's only April, it's just going to get worse!
By the time I got to the hill I felt ready for it and just plowed on ahead. As I was running it I reached three separate times when I thought I was "at the top" but forgot about "one last turn". I kept reminding myself that I wasn't worried about maintaining pace (which would be crazy) but only with maintaining effort. By the time I finished it I was SO happy for it to be over and also really feeling drained.
It made me realize that with the increased temps, I really am going to need to start hydrating on my runs, even ones that are only an hour. I probably made it for another 3/4 of a mile after reaching the top before I did something that I haven't done on a run in well over a year...I stopped to walk. I know many people are fans of walk/run intervals and I think they're great for those for whom they work. For me, I've always found that it's that much harder for me to start running again if I stop to walk and it's just not been my thing (this could change when/if I start training for a full marathon). I only walked about 20 seconds or so and then got back to it.
However the second half of my run was just bad pace wise, I had forgotten that after "the hill" the back half of the park consists of quite a few rolling hills, and I ran over 11 minute miles, which is slower than I've been doing lately. Overall I was not happy with the run. I didn't like slowing, I didn't like having to walk, and I was super annoyed that my hat blew off twice (I hate distractions like that). So why in the world am I including this for #bestfoot? I'm including it because I beat the hill, even though it took its toll. I faced something that had been a fear of mine and lived to tell the tale. It wasn't a great run, but that's just the way it crumbles sometimes. I'm still proud of myself for doing it and ready to face it again!