Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to the hills

One would think that after running 1400 miles over the course of about 8 weeks, one would be fairly well-practiced at running. It turns out, at least in my case, I became quite well-practiced at running realllly slowly, stopping frequently for drinks/food/picture-taking/raspberry-picking/what-not, walking up hills, walking to stop overheating, walking to check out the scenery, etc., etc., etc. So, yeah, I became well-adapted to running and sight-seeing - but didn't do a heckuva lot to enhance my racing abilities (such as they are/were).

Strolling along Wisconsin's Mountain-Bay trail (lots of raspberries here!)

The last few weeks have been an exercise in breaking my leisurely running habits. The first habit to break was the stopping-to-walk habit. After about two weeks, I was finally able to run more than 30 minutes without walking. Whew! Next came the walking-up-hills habit. I used to be a hill charger, and had to break that habit quickly in order to survive the 30-mile days. Now it was time to reverse that and convince my body that, yes, you can actually run up this hill and live to run another day. The third and fourth habits I'm trying to break are the long-run-shuffle and the slow-motion-run. If I want to a) run mountain trails again and/or b) run quicker than all but a giant earth-moving machine packing down a dirt hill (the only moving thing I ran faster than this summer), then I have to actually pick up my feet and move them quickly. To this end, I've started doing hill drills (bounding, high knees, skipping up a hill), and speed drills of various types. At times I wish I were back moseying my way through the sandhills and corn fields. On the other hand, I've made enough progress with the hill running, picking up the feet, and moving slightly quicker than molasses, that I was able to get in almost 3 hours of running this morning on the trails of western Boulder. Delightful!

Skunk Canyon Trail, Boulder, Sept 5, 2007

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