26 June 2011

My killer hiller Sweat My Thorns Off run...

Today I found my area of weakness. In fact, I found two.

  1. running in the sun
  2. running where it's hilly
These didn't used to be my weaknesses, but now they are.

On the schedule for this weekend was an 8-mile run at base pace (between 9:30 and 10:10 per mile for me). As I will be running in that Hood to Coast Relay in a couple of months, I figured it might be time to venture off the compound and try my hand at some hills because that race course is anything but flat.

Further challenging myself, I decided to run the Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K... a virtual race put on by The Boring Runner, Adam... as part of this workout.

I decided on a hilly out-and-back for my race course/long run. I would use the first 4 miles of the 'out' as my warm-up, race (I use that word loosely) the first 3.1 miles of the return and cool down for the final 0.9. I also decided that since our climate isn't so much of a sweaty mess as other participants in the virtual race would be experiencing, I would start my run around 10:30ish, planning to finish right around noon... when the sun would be high in the sky, making me super extra miserable. That part worked.

My warm up went really well... isn't that usually a bad sign? My splits on the way out looked like this:
  • 9:45
  • 9:33
  • 9:23
  • 10:09  (monstrous hill for the last 0.3 miles)
I felt great. But kind of thirsty. I stretched a little. Wished I had brought water. Stretched a little more, and then I was ready.

Me at the start... 4 miles out in the middle of nowhere.
I aimed the camera too high to catch my racing bib... 
but I was
(note that I have on a new shirt...so now I have two)

The picture below is looking back at the "mountain" that I had just run down...
if you click to biggify you can see the road I ran on and some cyclists on it.
This is one half-mile from the start... split was 4:23...
there was a serious 0.3-mile downhill and then it was nearly all uphill for the next 2 miles
(stupid planning on the race director's part :P)

The most neatly-formed cowpie I saw (and I saw many) was found right around the one mile mark...
(this one's for Adam... Poop King and host of the SYTO5K)

I hit this point in 9:19...and did not step in the poop.

Here is looking back at that "mountain" at 1.5 miles from the start...
doesn't look so monstrous because the route was a steady incline up to this point so I am on the same level as the summit...my slowest 1/2-mile split at 4:53... hating life.

If you turned your head the other way, this is what you would see...

Just past the 2-mile marker was the third and last of these...
yes, three of these treacherous cattle guards to contend with... 
the first two were in that nasty, seemingly-unending, nearly-2-mile incline.
Fortunately, the blazing sun and blistering heat kept the cows lolling in the shade and not menacing the road like they usually are.
My second mile time was 9:40... ouch.

Here is the "bathroom" at the 2.2-mile mark...
Luckily, I didn't need to use it today :)

Have you noticed the absence of trees or shade in the previous pictures? 
I finally got a some for 0.2 miles from the 2.2 to the 2.4 ...

There was a little bit of rollingness to the terrain from the shady point on... meaning not all uphill.  But the two-tenths of a mile leading up to the 3-mile point were a steep up...
it never looks as steep as it is...
kind of like how the camera adds 10 lbs... 
it also takes a few percentage points off the grade.

It was brutal.
But I did it.

Clock time:  28:43.25
Avg. pace:  9:16.45

Mile splits were:
52.31 (last 0.1)

Overall, I feel pretty good about it. I really stepped outside my comfort zone... and that is always good!

What I learned today:
  • it is much easier to run fast in the evening... in the dark... than in the heat of the day when the sun is at its zenith.
  • plyo is not a good pre-race workout (remember that last post)
  • vaseline really helps keep my armpit from getting chafed!
  • and so does a Dora band-aid under my boobs.

  • I may actually have sweated my thorns off.

I followed up this madness with even more madness... an ice bath. No pics. Maybe next time ;-)


  1. Gotta love those cattle guards! I have a run where I have to cross 5 of those then turn around and cross them again. Great job getting out and running in the heat and the hills!

  2. wooooo weee, this sounds brutal!! Love your Dora bandaid Marjorie. Ha! All your pictures really. Way to stick in there and you even got the poop picture.

  3. AWESOME! I love the route, so pretty and such wide open space! LOVE it!

    Body Glide is nothing like Vaseline; it is not greasy and it rolls on like deorderant. You can get it online or at any running store. Might be better than that Vaseline stuff, but I'm happy it did the magic for you!

    Nice run, Chica - woohoo!!

  4. Your face says it all, hehe. Sun is never a runners friend....ick. I just dream about slurpies the whole time when it is hot. Hills, on the other hand, I enjoy -- because I take them nice and slow. Nothing under a 9:00 mile for me when it comes to hills...

  5. Great job and great report! Sounds like an incredibly brutal course & start time... I'd complain to the race director if I were you. :D

  6. Love the pics! The hill looks like a killer one...those inclines that go on and on are no fun! Great "race"!! Now I want to see the medal!

  7. Ugh. The sun is totally my nemesis... It sucks the life out of every run for me. So great job, I woulda melted!

  8. HEY! Even *I* have posted pictures of me in an ice-bath. And I am the person that Stacie made the comment to that I don't have many pictures on my blog. I don't do cameras. I'm not that photogenic, so I forget to even take pictures.

  9. I seriously don't know how you do it! I barracaded myself inside my house this weekend. I can't imagine running....through hills...in the sun...You never fail to impress me :)

  10. I am also NOT a fan of the sun when I run - bring on the cold and clouds! :)

    Is that inspiration point? I ran there once and loved it! Want to go back sometime soon - it was definitely hilly!

  11. I've been adding in a hill here and there to my longer runs but your course looks insane :) I am raising my glass (metaphorically) to you for finishing a tough run!

  12. Nice run! Beautiful view too! Don't you just love the cattle guards? Ugh-they are awful!

  13. Ha ha! Yes, pictures do NOT do inclines justice. I feel just HOT looking at those pictures though. No water for the whole thing! OMG-I'm a sweatmonger. You would find me collapsed on a cattle guard...

    Great job on the run! Love your facial expression, or lack of facial expression-ha!! Oh-and I bathe myself in body glide. Little sores EVERYWHERE that make me shout nasty words when I hop in the shower if I forget that stuff! Hadn't thought of a Dora bandaid......

  14. NICE!! I love all of the pictures (of course, the cowpie had a special part in my heart). I don't know what it is about pictures that do not capture how HUGE hills are. For that matter, cars seem to zip over them as well. Nice work!

  15. Nice job on the run! I'm taking a guess here, but is that Fremont or Crystal Springs reservoir? Looks like great terrain to run in!


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