The hills are alive…

Well that was one hell of a first day.

I signed up for Rogue’s 5K/10K speed group this time, thinking the shorter distance with a focus on speed would be ideal for the summer. And I like my coach’s philosophy: we are relatively experienced Rogues and have been there, done that with long distances. Now we focus on time and pace. It looks like a pretty intense program–three days a week of Rogue training, plus core class Mondays and shorter runs the other days, with rest days on Fridays. But I need a giant kick in the ass if I’m going to build on the progress I made since September.

We met for the first time last night. It’s a pretty small group–about six of us attended last night, although I know a few more will join us next time. Or maybe not, once they hear about the workout.

We started at Rogue at 6:30. It was about 90* and humid. I’d been starving after work so I ate more than I should have. And it’s been almost eight weeks since my last Rogue workout. I say all this to explain that while I might be in pain later, perhaps some of it was self-inflicted. But not all of it.

We ran about 1.5 miles to the high school. Well, behind the high school, where this happens:

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A trail dropped down into the woods–you can’t see most of it in the picture because it’s a steep drop, sort of hidden in the shade.

We stood at the edge, laughing nervously while our coach explained the drills. What, you don’t think that looks like much of a hill? Then look up from the bottom:

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So you’re thinking, sprints up that hill? Well, you would be partially right.

The first two times, yes. Up the hill, stay vertical, use your arms, climb as fast as you can. Then jog to the trail, walk a short loop back to the bottom of the hill, and repeat.

The third and fourth times? Bounding. Sort of like that exaggerated run high jumpers use before leaping over the bar. But up the hill.

Fifth time? Squat jumps. Up the hill.

Sixth time? One-legged hops. Up the hill.

Seventh time? Other leg.

Eighth time? More sprints.

By then, my quads were completely hammered, and we still had the 1.5-mile run back to Rogue.

I’ve done what? Six half-marathons? This year alone I’ve run eight races, six of them 10Ks or longer. I thought I was, you know, kind of capable, in kind of decent shape. But those eight trips up that damn hill–in the heat, after a large snack, the first hard workout in weeks–I learned that I have a long way to go.

And it was only the first day.

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