Training update, 4-1: Eleven miles uphill is “character building”, they say

April 12, 2007 at 4:02 am | Posted in My current training, TNT | 1 Comment

On Saturday, March 31, we had our long coached run. It was at a local town in the hills on the SF peninsula west of Palo Alto, Portola Valley. It was to be a 10 – 12 mile run.

It started off okay.


Then we got to a turning point for the 10-12 mile trail. Note the soon to be ironic smiley face.


Here’s where things got interesting. As I knew from previous years as a volunteer, this training run had a lot of hills, going up trails in the area. I didn’t know how many or how intense. After the smiley face, we went up a hill.

And boy was it a hill. Check out the incline in the pic.


It was about 30 yards of fairly steep incline. The next pic is of people having traversed (walking mostly) the hill, and coming to the other side.


You’ll note there are no pics of me. The point of this run, along with understanding hills, was to build endurance. Most all the runs I’ve done so far had very few or minor hills. This one had about 6 or so miles of hills in it. So it kicked my behind, aerobically. No pics of me. Only a few pics overall, actually.


The other tough thing about the hills – going down. After several miles of steep declines, the knees start to hurt. They hurt through the entire remainder of the run, and into Sunday. Luckily it didn’t last, but it made the experience tougher.

I ended up missing the turn off for the 12 mile, but I ended up doing the 10 mile trail. They tell me it was actually 10.7 miles, by GPS. It felt really really really long.


Finally, at the end the last couple of miles were relatively flat, with only a few minor hills.


And at the end, I was able to notice the flowers along the trail. Being the week before Easter and spring is here, the lupines were blooming. I love lupines – my beloved Texas bluebonnets are in the lupine family, and the ones out here in CA look like them. I miss seeing the bluebonnets this time of year, covering entire fields in blue.

Of course, when the bluebonnets are in bloom in the spring in Texas the weather is stormy with tornadoes, so there’s a trade-off.

Finally I make it to the end of the run. It was really, really tough. The uphill part was bad aerobically, with the lungs burning; the downhill was very tough on the knees. I know it is good for me in the long run, so to speak, but it took a couple of days to get over.

Character building, I think they call it.


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  1. […] run was again at Portola Valley, which I talked about here. Since it was the same route, I didn’t take any new pictures — you can see what it […]

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