You may have noticed on my sidebar that I’ve got a pretty new widget for the Virtual Running UK Blog Hop: this is a virtual run that takes place each month, where you must run at least 5km, blog about it, then tweet the link to Virtual Run UK, who will then post my entry, along with other participant’s across the UK.The point is to connect running bloggers across the UK, both experienced and beginner. Why not?
I decided my Thursday night hill reps run would be this month’s 5km because I actually don’t run that distance that often. With my half marathon training programme just beginning, now is the perfect time to get a short run in. On my way home from work Thursday night, it started to rain. It did seem a lot worse than it really was, and unfortunately, this was enough to deter all my running group friends from coming. Running group in Laurencekirk meets at 18:30, and leading up to meeting time, I received texts from my three running friends, all within minutes of each other, saying they weren’t going to be at running. I was, as the title would indicate, the Lone Ranger.
Mildly peeved at this because I’ve never been in this situation, I quickly got dressed, jumped in my car and headed the five miles down the dual carriageway to town. I parked at our usual meeting spot, activated my GPS Garmin, ditched my down jacket, and started my run around town, by myself, in the rain. This is the first time I’ve ever run by myself at night, and luckily it was in a quiet and well-lit Laurencekirk through a nice residential area, passing some walkers throughout the run. My run would consist of 10 minutes easy pace, followed by two sets of hill reps running uphill for 45 seconds at threshold (or comfortably hard) pace, followed immediately by running downhill for 45 seconds to recover; I would do this continuously for five minutes.
My easy 10 minutes took me downhill through a residential area then the tiny Laurencekirk industrial area, back to the residential area and the hill I would now run up. I had my footpod Garmin on as well, which was set to timed intervals of 45 seconds. While that Garmin failed me in terms of accurate distance, it has been so handy for timed intervals for half marathon training. My first set of intervals started with a comfortably hard run uphill, maintaining a straight back, square shoulders, pumping my arms and breathing through my mouth, inflating my diaphragm. My watch beeped its all too familiar alert, which promptly lead to me turning around to quickly jog downhill until the alert went off again. My goal during these continuous hill reps is to progress up the hill with each repeat, surpassing my last turning point each time. Five minutes of continuous up and down hills translated into four runs uphill and three runs down.
I allowed myself three minutes easy jogging between sets to recover a bit before starting the second set. This little jog took me past a woman walking her massive Newfoundland dog, who decided to growl at me then wanted to come up to me and possibly more. After my encounter this past summer with neighbour’s dog that bit me at the end of a run, I’ve become a bit more hesitant towards stranger dogs. The woman waved me on as she held her dog closely, and I scooted past. Brian from my running group actually got bit in the bum last week by a dog we see regularly while out on our runs, and I didn’t want that same fate for me.
I completed another set of hill reps, four runs up and three runs down, each repeat pushing further and further up the hill. By the end, I was out of breath, but I had earned it. The repeats were over and I was rewarded with another ten minutes easy running around town.
Although it was raining, it wasn’t actually that bad compared to some rain showers I’ve run in. I made my way back to my car, stretched and headed home a saturated, yet accomplished, runner.
March’s Virtual Running UK 5km was 3.5 miles in 35 minutes, with an average pace of…. While this is no personal best, this was a triumph for me anyway. I could’ve let the rain keep me home, I could’ve let the fact that I would be by myself keep me at home, but instead, I headed out and got my run done. And when I got home, I tweeted this, Smasung swipe typo and all:
As we say at running group “You never regret a run.”
Do you run alone? Or in a group?
What would you have done in my situation?
Have you done hill repeats before?