Friday, July 10, 2009

Pennsyl*mania* Hill

A recent Facebook post about running 16 times up Pennsylvania Hill generated some curious comments, so I'm using this post to explain what I actually did. 

This is a 90 mile week for me filled with hill repeats, hill drills, sprints, strides and longer lactate threshold and half-marathon-paced bouts.  On Tuesday, I had a double with an easy 6 in the morning including 5 minutes at goal marathon pace (=6:11 pace that day).  The evening workout was 13 miles which included a warm up, 15 minutes at lactate threshold, and the following series of hill repeats:

  • 45 seconds up a hill @ mile effort, 90 second jog rest
  • 45 seconds up a hill @ mile effort, 90 second jog rest
  • 3 minutes up a hill @ 5k effort, 2 minute jog rest
  • 30 seconds up a hill @ mile effort, 30 second jog rest

Repeat above sequence 4 times.   This is where the 16 times up Pennsylvania comes from. So, it was not from bottom to top but it equaled about 3 miles of uphill at some fairly fast paces.  Bearing with me here, this is actually equivalent to doing the hill from the bottom of the bike trail in the park up to the stop sign ~15 times (given that the hill is about 0.20 miles long).

On Tuesday, I stewed all day long about how to get this hill workout in trying to decide whether to do it on a treadmill or try to find a real hill.  It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that you need a fairly long hill (which are a lot more accessible and abundant in Montana where my coach resides) to complete the sequence as written.  I was worried that doing the workout on a treadmill would make it too easy since it’s a challenge to ramp up to true mile effort and then back down with such a short turnaround.  Plus, I enjoy the beating my legs get on the down hills.

So, I made a command decision at 7:00 Tuesday night to use Pennsylvania Hill off of Fair Oaks near Sunrise Blvd. (sporting my refurbed Garmin 405 that came in the mail that day fully charged!).  I had heard stories of this hill and even viewed it on Google maps before deciding to take it on.  I have to say that it was a bit of a disappointment since I was hoping it would be longer and more continuous.  It was, however, better than the treadmill. 

I started off by running west for 3.5 miles on the bike trail at a moderate pace, turned around and started the 15 minutes at LT (6:04 pace—I’m improving!).  I jogged back across the river and got ready for those hills.

I found out quickly that Pennsylvania is not a 3-minute hill even when you go all the way from the bottom, past the stop sign to the tippy top of the hill.  I even tried taking a left at the stop sign at Magnolia and running up that steep section to the top but this eked out only another 10 seconds.  For the most part, I was doing a 2:40-2:55 minute hill.  I also rested for more like 1 minute between the 30 second repeat and the 45 second repeat since I needed to get to the very bottom of the hill to do the next round.  

I finished mile 19 for the day and my last set of repeats in the dark, inhaling small invertebrates in rapid succession, but feeling very strong.  As if that wasn’t enough protein right there, I decided to stop at In-N-Out Burger for some iron-laden meat product and fries. 

I was super tired the next morning, but I had to get up and run 8 miles at 4:45 a.m then drive to San Francisco for an all-day meeting.  I was really glad I hadn’t postponed that workout to the evening because I didn’t get home from work until around 7:30.  Working 45-60 hour weeks in a semi-stressful job and trying to maintain 90 miles per week, plus all of the additional strength training and stretching is not easy.  I hope I don’t break anytime soon.  

On tap for tomorrow:  My first 20 miler for this training cycle replete with all kinds of fancy maneuvers!

SERBIA PRIZE MONEY UPDATE:  The Serbs appear to be making good on the prize money I won at the Belgrade Marathon.  I had sent the race organizers 3 messages over the last 2 months and did not receive even an acknowledgment.  I started performing various internet searches to come up with someone to bug about this and found the e-mail address of an Italian Colonel responsible for the International Military Track and Field Organization.  He sent a message to the race organizers and within 1 hour I received this message:

Dear Ms Jaymee,
We are sorry we didn`t answer to you imidiotely but we were awaiting firstly the results of doping test which came meanwhile. Secondly we were and still are awaiting payments from some of our sponsors.
We hope that by next 7 - 10 days we may give you concrete info of payment. Thank you very much for being patient and we congratulate you once more on your big sucess!
Best wishes
Dejan Nikolic
Belgrade marathon Ltd
Humska 4, 11000 Belgrade

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