The past few days have offered a brief reprieve from the onslaught of snow and ice of winter. I have been taking full advantage of the warmer temperatures and clear sidewalks to get in some outdoor runs. Last night I planned a trip to the gym for speed work, the only part of my training that I prefer to do on the treadmill. Walking home, however, it became apparent that not taking advantage of 60+ degree in February would be a crime, so I decided on some hill repeats close to home.
I pulled on my shorts and t-shirt soon after I got in the door, with daylight at a premium I wanted to soak in every possible minute. I strapped on my watch and my ipod and headed over a few blocks, up to one of the most daunting local hills, Buena Vista. It's an old cobblestone road connecting the flats of the Mexican War Streets with Perrysville Ave -- and also the most direct route to my best friend's house. For all the times I have travelled this road, I have only run (more aptly run / walked) up it once.
I approached the first ascent with energy and optimism. After climbing the first half of the hill at a fairly decent pace it became apparent that would not prove easy. I struggled to reach the top, and on my way down a woman stopped me, who had been walking up the hill. She commented that my running had made her feel old and out of shape, to which I replied that I was training for a marathon. She said, 'you go girl' which warmed my heart. Little encouragements certainly matter, especially when you are tackling such a large hill!
I descended the hill as night was falling in earnest taking care to not go too fast and strain my quads. I repeated this pattern three more times, each successive time making it a little less far before I had to stop and walk. The promise of a beautiful city scape on the way down kept me going towards the top even when I felt all the energy in my legs give, the oxygen deplete.
Running Buena Vista was the most challenging workout I have done thus far, and I know that the challenging workouts can be the most rewarding in the end.