Sunday, April 5, 2009

In search of hills

Saturday's long run went off without a hitch. DH and I had Thai food (Pad Thai and Crab meat fried rice) for dinner on Friday night, so I had plenty of carbs to sustain me through the run. I awoke at 6 am, so I could complete 6 miles before the larger group got there. The group training for the Boston Marathon had assembled and was just starting out as I pulled into the zoo parking lot. They were the speedy ones - I could not have kept up with them, even if I did start with them.

It was cloudy and slightly raining when I started running at 6:55 am. I trudged along the towpath, noticing that the water level on either side had risen, due to the rain. Not enough to be alarmed about, but I had plenty of time to imagine what would happen if the water surged over and submerged the path as I ran. Not a very pleasant thought.

I headed back after 3 miles, so I could be back at the starting point by 8 am, fuel up and join the other group. On the way back, the Boston Marathon group overtook me a few yards from the parking lot, and I had the pleasure of watching their long loping strides, as I scurried along behind them.

After quickly gulping down a few mouthfuls of gatorade and water, it was time for the second loop. I kept pace with Jack, a seasoned runner with a 25-year running record, several races, half and full marathons and injuries behind him. It was a rather brisk pace, but I had enough energy in me to keep up the pace for a few miles. Conversation flowed, and before we knew it, we were at the 3-mile point, where Jack turned back. I ran a half mile further, then returned. The last 3 1/2 miles were at a slightly slower pace. When I completed 13 miles, it was 9:05.
35 miles for the week.

I joined the group for breakfast at the Somerset Diner. I had my favorite, a 3-egg Country Omelet with onions and mushrooms, hash browns and their delicious coffee. I am normally not a coffee drinker, but exceptions are made, when something tastes this good!

At breakfast, I met Les from the group (who I had not met before because he is much faster than me), who is a coach for Team In Training. He told me about his fund-raising experiences and the teams he has trained in the past.

I have vague plans for a fall marathon, but since my tendonitis episode, I have been taking running one day at a time, savoring the experience and not training for a specific race. But when he told me that they were going to start training soon for the Nike Women's Marathon and to let him know if I was interested (he waved away my rebuttal that registration is now closed), visions of hot firemen danced before my eyes. I was of course, interested, but very skeptical. I would be lousy at fund-raising. And with work commitments, would I be able to find the time for training and fund-raising? Besides, it will only be my second marathon, so I was considering a more local event, not one on the other side of the country.

On the other hand, it might be a wonderful experience. I could meet amazing people (apart from the firemen), get some real coaching, and might actually be able to help people. What say you? If it is even possible to get in, should I go for it? The Information Meeting is in 10 days, so maybe I should attend and see if it is something I can commit to? The decision is up in the air for now.

Since I read in Run Faster about the benefits of hill training, the evidence is stacking up in favor of the overwhelming benefits of running up and down hills. I can no longer justify the ostrich approach, bury my head in the sand and pretend hills don't exist. NJ is not known for rugged and hilly terrain, so yesterday, resigned to my fate, I drove around, looking for the elusive mountain (or molehill). I had heard about a hilly 10K path in the vicinity of where I live. After some driving, I found a relatively steep but small hill, one mile long, 6 miles away from home. It is a very busy local road with a narrow shoulder and no sidewalk, so I will have to be really careful, wear reflective clothing, and hug the occasional tree when a car comes hurtling along at breakneck speed. It will have to do for now. Hill training, here I come!

15 comments:

Erica said...

Good for you girl! 13 miles? That is awesome. Glad that you use the other runners for inspiration! I bet that really makes you want to keep on going! Im sure there are runners there using YOU as inspiration too! I'm sure I would be

Pearl said...

great job on your run! that's fantastic!

Christie said...

That's a nice pace. Okay, so last time I checked, you run for fun. Since when is hill training fun? lol

I Run for Fun said...

LOL. Good point Christie....I don't know if it's fun yet because I've never run hills. I will find out soon!

Abby said...

Go for San Fran!

I've done a couple races with Team in Training, and they've been great experiences. The support system the organization creates is fantastic, and you'll meet wonderful people (at least I did!).

X-Country2 said...

I love a good breakfast with friends after a morning run! Good luck with your future plans.

Roisin said...

I ran with TNT for my very first marathon, which happened to be the Dublin marathon (as in Ireland, not the city near Columbus, Ohio). The fundraising minimum was like $3900. I'm a TERRIBLE fundraiser too, and it was really hard to raise all of that money. I had to donate to myself! But it was a great experience and I'll definitely do it again someday.

lindsay said...

you are quite the go-getter! that hill sounds like something i'd avoid at all costs :)

san fran sounds tons of fun, i hope to do it one day myself. go for it!

The Happy Runner said...

Yay for hills! And yay for hot firemen! I would say attend the meeting and then you can make an informed decision.

lauren said...

great job on the 13 miler with no feelings of pain! and I would say go to the meeting and see how you are feeling after that...would be exciting though!

aron said...

awesome job on the run!!!! I did my first marathon with a group where I had to fundraise and I thought it was a great experience. I learned a lot and met some awesome people.

Scheri said...

I vote for San Fran! I'm going with a friend to run the marathon and have fun! I think you'd have a blast training with a group too.

Cindy said...

i say do it! hot firemen, very very cute tiffany souvenir, cool experience and the excuse to go to sf...it sounds great. you'll be ready for it with all your hill training too !

Ali said...

I'm in the do it camp ... it SF with fireman and tiffany!

Tammy said...

Great run! Go for it!