Today I ran a hill workout in Stanley Park with some very good company. I was training with coach Richard Lee and his runners Steve Osaduik and Richard Mosley to name a couple. To give you an idea of how fast these men are, Steve holds the record for the Royal Victoria Marathon and Richard was 4th at the Canadian 10 km Championships.
We ran hills today. I definately feel like I am in cross country season. Beyond the cool morning workouts on golden leaf covered trails, I have run back to back hard hill workouts. Today we ran a 'figure 8' loop consisting of an 800 metre gradual hill, a downhill recovery, and a steep 600 metre hill with the same downhill recovery. We did the long hill 4 times and the shorter hill 3 times.
It is always a bit intimidating running with very good runners. It is hard to know how to pace or whether or not to stay with the quick guys. This morning coach Lee's instruction was to run the hills fast but to concentrate more on good mechanics rather then the time. I was excited that there was no timing of this workout! I was also relieved because this meant I could concentrate on being quick off the ground, staying tall and driving through my stride rather then staggering up the hill as fast as I could.
When I woke up this morning running was one of the last things I wanted to do. I wanted to sleep forever. Once out of bed and into my running gear I was a little more enthused and by the time I was at Brockton Oval I was ready to go. I said hello to the VFAC crew then began the warm-up with my group. We had a nice warm up and I was feeling good by the end. My drills and strides were unremarkable. Not great nor did I feel sluggish. Although my mind was tired my body felt good. The workout itself went very well. I was able to run on Steve's shoulder for much of the workout except for the last long hill. I took coach Lee's instruction to heart and actually paid attention to my mechanics. When I felt my core collapsing or my legs losing some range with a bit too much heel I would tighten up and concentrate on striding out to the top of the hill. The funny thing is that when I slowed my stride to focus on mechanics my pace increased and became easier. By lifting and driving up the hill, rather then slogging up the hill, I was able to maintain pace with less energy output. I am happy with this workout and it gives me confidence going into BC Cross Country Championships. Hopefully I will remember my mechanics when I am racing in a weeks time.
Now I am preventative icing my feet which have been sore the last few days. I am also taking some Motrin to reduce some inflammation. Running all these hills also does a number on my piriformis muscles, one of the ass muscles. I could feel it starting to fire up a bit on my cool down so I will have to watch that it does not flare up and cause me any issues. I think I will use the rest of the day to fold some laundry, get a bath and have a good nap. Not necessarily in that order!