TOO MANY HILLS // TOO MUCH CONFIDENCE
Some days, retracing your footsteps and running an old, super hilly route sounds like the perfect idea.
I mean, after all, what fun is it to repeatedly run the same route day after day?! That was my mindset when I headed out on Sunday for a mid morning run. It was 10:20 a.m., far later than my usual start time of 5:20 in the morning. So, I made the conscious decision to give my old, incredibly hilly, running route from this past summer a try. Yes, the same route that caused me so much hip+pelvic pain and ultimately forced me to take several breaks from running over the course of training for my first half marathon (and not being able to race either).
However, there are obviously some good memories associated with the route…otherwise there is no way I would have even thought about giving it another chance. With the downhills, ever changing scenery, and the many super fast running times from the past, I had a strong desire to get back to that place in my running journey. Where, everything was much simpler and running wasn’t such a risky activity. In my mind, the only real shot I had of getting back to that idealistic running phase was to go backwards, retrace my steps, and learn how to deal with hills.
Surprisingly, yesterday’s trial run didn’t go too bad.
I managed to cover 3 miles in 28 minutes and 29 seconds (average pace of 9:29). That’s the fastest 3 mile time I had put up in over a week, so my automatic assumption was that adding hills make in would solve all of my problems and get me back to faster times in literally no time at all. I didn’t even think to factor in that I was running at a completely different time of day on totally fresh legs. All I could focus on was, how wildly fun it was to struggle on the up hill part of my run, and then completely dominate the downhill portion.
Flash forward to today’s suckfest of a 6 mile run on the VERY exact same route. It could not have gone worse. I only had 2 sub 10 minute miles, and those time were still fairly slow. The weather was fine, my legs felt fine, and still I struggled immensely with my pacing. Yet, for the bulk of the run, I was having fun and hopeful that I could incorporate this new/old route at least every other run, just to change things up a bit. I was somehow unaware of just how dramatically the hills were impacting my body and my pacing.
I started out today so confident about my running trajectory for the rest of this year, and heading into 2019. Now, I feel like absolute trash.
I’m disappointed in myself for pushing my body too far, too soon with back to back hill days. I’m upset by the fact that I spend all those months recovering/limiting my running, only to still struggle just as much now. I’m embarrassed that I ran so slow, and didn’t even realize until I had finished the run. I don’t have a plan b or another route that I want to just randomly try out. I don’t want to spend an eternity running around in short, 2 mile or less circles; especially once I get back up to running 7-9 miles consistently. I really am at a loss for what to do.
Sure, the obvious answer is to go back to my newer, far less hillier route. To, run as many miles as I can on flat terrain before tackling the one hill on that route, and just tack on miles at the end (aka the “twisty trail”) as needed. But, how sustainable and enjoyable is that going to be? How long before I get bored by the monotony of it all and take another stab at the hills? These, and other questions, have been running through my head all day.
The only solution I can think of right now, is to chalk today’s run up as just a “bad day” and move on. To, take a few days off from the hill and try again. The one thing I am absolutely certain of going forward, is that losing confidence in myself as a runner and my running abilities is NOT an option. I’ve worked far too hard for far too many years to go back to feeling self conscious and insecure while running.