Monthly Archives: June 2015

Hills: My New Hat Trick

“If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” -Author unknown

“Hills never get easier, you get stronger.”   -Greg LaMond

“Hills. We love them. We hate them. they make us strong. They make us weak. Today, I chose to embrace the hills.” -Hal Higdon

“Be a Hill Seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and –the ultimate–flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” -Author unknown

“Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get.” -Joe Catalano

“I’d rather be standing at the top of the hill that I just dominated unable to breathe, ready to puke, hair matted to my forehead, than at the bottom wondering what it would feel like.” -Fiterature

If you run with me, there is one thing you know for sure, “I LOVE hills.” I have loved hill running for as long as I have been running. What started as a mantra, has grown to be true. Good news for me, there are more hills, steeper hills, longer hills on the trail. 🙂 I am not a fast hill runner. You don’t have to be a fast hill runner. I get in a flow. My body knows the pace and the form it needs to make it to the top without stopping. I do not have to repeat a mantra anymore.

My new trick? I count every left footfall. I have counted most hills in Smith Park. My fav hill to repeat there is on the Green trail. It is approximately 130 left footfalls to the top. I like to repeat this hill 4-5 times, during a workout. Knowing the footfalls of the hills gives me confidence. It might sound weird, but I like it. Counting helps me to get in a rhythm and get it done, without wondering when I will reach the top. I can settle in to the hill and do the work. I know exactly when I will reach the top. I know “half way” and  “almost done”. It works well for me. Mentally, counting makes every hill less intimidating. I mean, if I can do ‘130’, I can easily do ’50’. It is a good mind game to convince my body that it is doable.

Form on hills is important.

  • Short, quick steps
  • balls of my feet/forefoot.
  • An even cadence to get into a rhythm that will carry me to the top.
  •  Relax
  • hips tall, chest tall

Try my trick the next time your training schedule has “hill repeats”!

Some of My Lately’s and Heavy ‘Relating’

It may not be a marathon, but whatever race your eyes are set on…don’t go your whole life wondering if you could run it or not. Start now, prepare, take it on. We promise you, it will be worth it. -MonitortheBeat

Running I have been doing almost all of my miles on the trail, except for my track work. I am keeping an average of about 40 miles/week. Our weather in TN is officially hot and humid from before sunrise and until after sundown! The miles that I have been running are hot, humid and sweaty. I am trying some different electrolyte drinks to see what I like and what works well with nutrition on the trail. Time spent on the trail is longer. The climbing is greater. The need for nutrition and water and electrolyte is significant.

I am currently training for 2 days of the Cumberland Plateau Stage Race. Check it out. It will be a fun event with some great people at the end of August.

Summer track has started back up. We did our 2 mile time trial last week. I am working on some cool workouts for July that will combine hill repeats and track. I think I am going to call it “crazy 8s”, stay tuned. . .

Resistence I go to the gym two days a week. I like to keep two full days of rest each week on my running schedule. I add the gym to my lower mileage days. I am still loving low reps and heavy resistance. In my opinion, weight training is essential as we age. For me, weight training is critical to the strength and power I need to run ultra marathons and to train on the trails.

Reading I finished UNBREAKABLE RUNNER. It was a good book, written by T. J. Murphy & Brian Mackenzie. I agreed with Brian’s opinion on eating/diet. I liked that he said several times in different chapters, “. . . this is not the only way. . ..” It was worth reading. It left me with several questions. I hope to dialog with some friends who have read it, soon.

The other book on my night stand is called, CARDIO OR WEIGHTS. This book is by Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D., former physicist, lifelong runner and science journalist. Each chapter is a different topic, like ‘cardio’ or ‘strength training’, full of questions that Alex answers in detail. The copyright was 2011, there is some information in there that is still mainstream and some info that can be debated in today’s fitness world.

I’ve finished six books in six months. Every one of the books, even the one that was NOT running related, WILLPOWER INSTINCT references Tim Noakes and his central governor model. Runners, running coaches,  read LORE OF RUNNING by Tim Noakes. You will learn about the central governor model and why it is a hot topic in running and fitness today. Next up? FOREVER: Why You Can’t Live Without It by Paul David Tripp

Relating I was listening to the song “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran. (Good song by the way) It made me a slobbery, crying mess. I started to be sad about everything that means anything to me. Sad that they (the people and things that mean anything to me) do not live up to the EXORBITANT expectations that I have for them. BTW, no one can live up to the expectations that I have for them. No one can live up to the expectations that YOU have for them. After I let myself be sad a bit, I immediately thought these words.

Enjoy these things as they are (not as I expect them to be) They are not meant to be the answer, to satisfy my restless pursuit of joy, happiness. . . They are meant to make me smile and have fun in this life. They are my companions. It is the Promises that I can count on. . . eternity in heaven. . . that are guaranteed. Eternity is going to BLOW my expectations out of the water!

Thoughts on eternity from FOREVER.

Longing for eternity doesn’t mean you are spiritual; it simply means you are human. We were created to live in a perfect world where death didn’t exist and where life would give way to life on into eternity. So we hope much, dream much, imagine much, groan much sorrow much and cry much. I know things often look bleak and chaotic, but remember that this is not all there is. We are all heading for eternity, where all that is broken will be finally and forever fixed.

I really like to read your comments. YOUR thoughts on what I write, you agree? you disagree? I also like to answer questions or even get, from you, and idea on a topic to blog about.

Race Recap: San Diego Marathon!

4:30 am wake-up call, because we had to be out the door at 5:15 am. Just enough time for a bagel with peanut butter and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. I slept in my running clothes so to facilitate the consumption of the bagel and COFFEE. The morning was shaping up to be the perfect running day. . . cloudy, cool with a 100% chance of ocean breeze. 🙂

I wore my Oiselle, Gwen tank and my Roga shorts. Most women of this San Diego crowd were “Lululemonized”. I wore my Brook’s ghost 7s, smart wool socks and a visor. I chose not to wear a fuel belt or carry water because there is ample drink and nutrition for this race. I enjoy road racing more when I can walk through aid stations to drink versus carrying my water and nutrition.

Here are some interesting race stats for the full and half marathon.

Full Marathon

  • 4,218 people ran it.
  • 2,426 were men
  • 1,792 were women
  • elevation for the marathon was 1071′


  • 13,743 people ran the half
  • 5,613 were men
  • 8,130 were women

Both courses are great. The full and half start at the same spot and run separate courses until mile 10. Both finish at Petco park in downtown San Diego. Both courses end on a 2 mile downhill. This would be a great destination race for couples and/or friends. Southwest Airlines flies direct to San Diego. You could rent a condo downtown through VRBO and walk to all festivities. San Diego has great food downtown and there is much to do and see, while you are there. The race is always held the first Sunday in June.

I like to follow a pace group in the road marathon. More than anything,  it takes my mind off of my watch/pace. This time I chose the 4:40 group. To be honest, I was not feeling too well and my very unspecific guess at my finish time was between 4:45 and 5:00.

The first part of this race through about mile 17 is very conformable running. There are some inclines but for the most part it is downhill or flat. It took me about 4 miles to warm-up and settle into a good pace. I was running ahead of the 4:40 group. They were maintaining a 10:40-ish pace. I liked being in front of them just a bit. I had to stop for the bathroom on the course two times (GI issues). When I came out from the port-o-potty the first time, the 4:40s were just running by me. PHEW! I caught up  with them again. When I stopped for the bathroom the second time, I had to wait, what seemed like, forever! As I was in line the 4:40s ran by, it was a bit nerve wracking waiting for my turn as they ran by. I got out and had to surge a while to catch them. Eventually, I caught up and moved ahead again. I decided because the weather was good that I was going to push my pace and see how long I could do that. Thank goodness there was no more stops at the bathroom.

After I caught up to and passed the 4:40s, we started on a nice stretch of running, around miles 11-14, right next to Mission Bay Park–think ocean breeze. 🙂 I was still pushing pace. I made the decision to push my pace because I may not have another cool, overcast marathon opportunity for the rest of the year.  The push helped me mentally because, miles 17.5-22.5 were going to be the hardest part of the course. I wanted to give myself plenty of time, if I needed it, to walk. From this point on, the 4:40s never passed me again.

As I anticipated, miles 17.5-22.5 were tough! For some reason, I had calf pain the entire race. I stopped to stretch them several times but it did not really help. I told myself that this is a marathon, something is going to hurt. I would have to remind myself of this many times until the finish line. There was a lot of walking for me at this point. I was still holding a strong 10:10 pace going into mile 18. I focused on keeping a smile on my face, running to landmarks, during this section, and then, walking a bit. Miles 19.6-22 were run on the 163 freeway. FINALLY, done with this section and headed for home.

The last section, miles 22-26.2, has one incline and then,  it was downhill BA-BY!! It is interesting to note that there were a lot more people walking in the marathon this year than in year’s past. There was also A LOT of calf cramping and a few people on the 163 freeway, laying down and receiving medical care. Maybe, people were not drinking enough because it was cool and overcast in the beginning? It would be too late at mile 20, when the sun came out,  to catch up on all the electrolyte’s lost. I made sure to walk every aid station and drink plenty of water and Gaterade. I drank and ate well.

I ran the last 2.6 miles to “Fight Song” by Rachel. I love the chorus.

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m alright song. . .

My power’s turned on

Starting right now I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

I’m thrilled with my time of 4:40! Not a PR but a very, happy finish time.