That wasn't necessarily a bad thing when I was young and foolish. But now that I'm on my second half century it's become a bit more of a challenge. On two fronts actually. First, the work it takes to run faster and second the challenge to stay healthy and un-injured. So speedwork and hills.
On the speedwork front, I use the local high school dirt track. Prior to the recent hurricane level rain it was a lovely oval of hard-packed red clay. It's suffered some damage recently that I hope will be addressed before the new school season starts in September because it's really messed up my weekly speedwork sessions. Normally I head out from home at a faster-than-usual pace for the 1 mile distance to the track. Then I do a series of 'Repeats to Failure': sprinting the straights then walking/slowly jogging the curves to catch my breath. So far I'm up to about 6 laps of this torture (about 1 1/2 miles) before I'm spent. The really hard part is the slow 1 mile jog back home.
Then there are the hill workouts!
Where we live there aren't too many real hills. We do have the descent/ascent down to the Humber River however and it's become my nemesis! It's a steep, narrow, uneven dirt path up the side of the ravine. It starts steep then gets really stupid for the last 5 metres. I know 5 metres doesn't sound like a lot but after my 3rd repeat my thighs are burning and my lungs are trying to do an 'Alien'! Again, I try to do these hill repeats only once every other week. These photos are of the trail but they really don't do justice to the steepness of the incline. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that after my 5th repeat I've invented some new swear words to go along with the burning in my quads and searing in my lungs. The beauty here though is that it's a quick walk back home and the relief of a cold compress on my knee. Yeah, there's some pain but I've been looking after it carefully.
The big benefit of all this pain is that my regular runs have become fun again. While it may only be in my mind, I feel as if I'm running faster. For sure I'm running more comfortably with the mid-foot running style. We'll see how fast I really am this fall in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon where I'm running the 1/2 Marathon and again in Negril in Decemeber at Reggae Marathon where I'm running the 10K.
Until next time...
I'm raising funds for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in 2013. My goal is to raise $2,000 by December 31. My planned races in 2013 include:
- The Toronto Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 20
- The Reggae Marathon, December 7.