On Monday morning, I woke up with the daunting realization that I would be competing in a running race that weekend. It’s a doozy of a race – a 6k, that’s uphill the entire way. Would I be able to do it?
I’ve been pushing myself to get back in shape over the past month and a half, but I’ve been focused on stairs, because my first two races since my exercise break ended were stair races in skyscrapers.
Running is a whole different ballgame. Sure, exercise is exercise, and all the training I’ve done is beneficial, but I’ve been focusing on races that last around 20 minutes or under, and this upcoming 6k will take me almost an hour, or maybe more.
Plus, I’m not a natural runner, nor do I enjoy it all that much, so it should come as no surprise that I don’t incorporate running into my routine very often at all. I’ve done three runs with my dog JJ over the past few months, but they were short, flat, boring, and frankly, exhausting.
Bailing isn’t an option. I like races, because they help me get in shape and stay in shape, and I’d rather use them as a reason to get moving, not as a reward once I’m in tip-top shape.
I’ll approach this race with the goal to do my very best, without the added pressure of a goal time or pace. I’m not going to love running uphill for 3.7 miles, but finishing will be an accomplishment that I can be proud of, and that’s always a great feeling.
I knew I’d feel better arriving at the race with one more good uphill run under my belt. I’d be doing other workouts before race day, too, but some of those were already planned. Since it was on my mind, when I woke up on Monday morning, I decided that I’d go running uphill later that day.
My neighborhood is completely flat, so Plan A was to go to the gym and use the treadmill, and keep bumping the incline up. But then a better Plan B presented itself: I ended up going over to my cousin Erik’s house that evening, and he lives on a hill, in a hilly neighborhood, so I dressed for a workout and went for a run there.
I ran 3.2 miles. The whole neighborhood is on a slope – the foothill of a larger mountain, actually – so every north/south street is a two-block hill. I plotted a course that took me up (and down) five of those streets.
I approached the run thinking that I might walk some of the downhill portions just to catch my breath and save energy for the uphill parts, but it turned out I didn’t need to. I ran the whole thing. And while it was tough and I was unhappy during parts of it, I felt pretty awesome afterward.
And the elevation chart for the run is pretty sweet, too – all ups and downs!
I don’t think I’m strong enough yet to set a PR at this weekend’s race, but I feel more confident now, and confidence goes a long, long way. Hopefully it’ll help get me through an uphill 6k!
Keep it up, David!
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