Friday morning I set out to conquer my second non-human nemesis: the hill near Myers Park High School that appears at mile 8 of the Corporate Cup half marathon.  I surprised both myself and SuperDad by actually waking up at 6am, bundling up in my cold weather gear, and running over to the hill, approximately 2.5 miles from our house.  I ran that darn hill 6 times, and by the 6th time, it was no easier than the first. I was moving at about an 8:20 pace up that hill, which is not great.  I figure if I can keep a 7:25 pace for the first 6 flat miles of the course, I can afford to run the hills in 7:40 or so.  Not 8:20.  Nevertheless, I was pleased that a) I woke up at 6 am, b) I actually did repeats on that hill, as opposed to doing it once and crying the whole way home, and c) I didn’t get hit by a teenager turning his brand new 2011 Yukon into the parking lot.  It’s sad that one day, SuperBaby will be the “poor kid” at that high school.

Sunday I planned to do a 10 mile run at 7am.  Instead, I slept 12 hours, waking at 9.  Yep, I went to bed during the Duke-Carolina game because Duke was losing and I knew they were not going to pull through.  I think I was depressed in my sleep about the game, and that’s why I slept so long.  When I got up, I had no motivation to run.  It was pouring ran and there was no end in sight.  So naturally, I took two naps with SuperBaby and worked a few hours.  Around 5 it cleared up.  I decided to sack up and take Riley on the run.  Big mistake.  Huge mistake. Riley has OCD.  And she thinks she has IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  She literally stopped 15 times during 10 miles.  For you non-math majors out there, that is 1.5 times per mile.  There was approximately 1.7 poops and 1 pee (total) generated in those 15 stops.  Riley thinks she has to go but there’s nothing there.  But people walking or driving by think she is going #2, and give me the stink eye when I don’t clean up.  Sorry, can’t clean up a phantom poop.

Also, because I didn’t want to carry my water bottle, along with the doggie poop bags, remote control for her collar, and my Iphone, I did an out-and-back course twice.  Meaning, I mapped out 2.5 miles from the house and ran to that point and back twice.  I put the water around mile 1.5 so I could have water at least every 3 miles.  This way, I was always under street lights as well. The problem with that course is that it goes along a busy road with many stop lights.  Naturally, as it goes when I drive, I hit almost every red light.  I think I had to stop about 23 or 24 times, even if only briefly.  This made me quite angry.  SuperDad thought this was funny, because he thinks it is absurd that I choose to run on such busy roads.  Whatever.  The run was 4 x 2.5 miles at HMP + 20% (about 8:45), HMP + 10% (8:15), HMP (actually, ended up being about 7:40), then HMP + 20%.  All of the stopping and starting messed up my splits, but then again, I guess it gave me time to rest as well.  I was not at all happy with Riley afterward, and the worst part is that I cannot shame her with this blog because she doesn’t read and lacks the opposable thumbs to pull up the site!

I am hoping my shoulder makes it through this last week of taper and the race on Saturday.  If you don’t hear from me before Saturday, it is because I am spending my free time visualizing the race and the pain I will endure on the multiple hills. I am afraid that all my weeks of avoiding hills on my long runs is really going to come back and bite me.  I am going to do one last hill workout tonight in the hopes of drumming up some semblance of fitness before Saturday.

Uphill battle

Naturally, because I proclaimed in my last post that I am completely against wasting all my training on a hilly race, the fates would force me into a situation where my only choices would be to either not run any races this season, or run a hilly race.  Unfortunately, as a result of my blue weight episode a while back, I tore the posterior labrum in my right shoulder.  It has gotten progressively worse, to the point where my 15 mile run (ok, 14 miles in 2:04, 1 mile jog/walk) on Sunday was excruciatingly painful.  It didn’t help that I was exhausted and running on unfamiliar terrain.  But my shoulder is what really made the run brutal.  After that, I knew my MRI had to show something terrible was a brewing in my shoulder.  Sure enough, my doctor confirmed this yesterday.  He basically destroyed my hopes of qualifying for Boston or New York this season.  But, I think I have enough training under my belt to eek out a semi-decent run at the Corporate Cup half marathon in Charlotte on March 12.  The Corporate Cup being yet another in the willrunforbiscuit’s dubbed Charlotte Hill Series.

Last night I did a set of mile repeats.  Even though the weather was glorious (i.e., in the 50’s), I had to run at the Y so SuperDad could work late.  I was in fairly good spirits, despite the news about my shoulder, as I embarked up the stairs towards the track.  Then, I laid eyes on the 70 year old man wearing jorts (that’s jean shorts) and a fanny pack, which held his CASSETTE Walkman.  That’s cool, he can walk in the outside lane.  Oh wait, what’s that?  Someone removed ALL of the signs lining the walls that say “Runners use inside lane, walkers use outside lane.”  Seriously, someone who works at the Y must read my blog and hate me.  But who could it be?  Perhaps one of the older ladies I bumped shoulders with was actually a daytime employee?  Oh dear, this would not bode well for me.  Luckily, Mr. Jorts only did a couple laps in the inside lane, then headed off for supper.  Ok, that was fine.  Until Zumba started.  I forgot what day and time it was.  The gym, and accordingly, the track, was filled with the blaring tunes of Lil Jon and Lady Gaga.  I had to rupture my eardrums blasting my beloved Adam Carolla podcast through my iPhone earbuds.  I don’t care how loud it is- I am not going to cave in and listen to something I wouldn’t allow on my car radio.  With my iPhone volume adequately amplified, I did a 1/2 mile warmup, 6 x 1 mile at half marathon pace with 1:00 recoveries, and a 1 mile cooldown.  My splits were: 7:33, 7:17, 7:15, 7:12, 7:12, and 7:11.  On the last mile, this guy got on the track and  started going exactly one second faster or slower than me.  We ran side-by-side for about 6 laps.  I would pull ahead, then he would pull ahead.  It was so annoying.  How could he not find this annoying?  As the gentleman, you would have thought he’s either pick up the pace considerably, drop off the pace, or stop and let me get ahead quite a bit, then continue on at his chosen pace.  I of course could not back down- I had a workout to stick to.  Luckily, after about 2/3 of a mile, he stopped.  Completely stopped.  So he raced me for less than 5 minutes, then just packed it up and finished his workout.  I finished shortly thereafter, and was happy with the effort.  My perceived level of exertion was low, which presumably means I am getting fitter.  Who knows? Anyway, I was looking for some good blog fodder after last week, and I surely got it.  I might have to make my own “runners use the inside lane” signs over the weekend.

The half marathon I am doing next weekend is deceptively brutal.  The first six miles are pretty much all flat or downhill.  Not bad.  I will probably look at my watch at the 10k split and think I am going to run a 1:35.  Between mile 6 and 7 there is a long, fairly steep hill.  Miles 7-8 are fine, I run those roads frequently.  Mile 8-8.5 is basically straight uphill.  It is awful.  I hate that hill with the burning hot passion of a thousand suns because it is ALWAYS around mile 8 of every half marathon in Charlotte. Miles 9-11.5 are okay, with several small rolling hills.  Then we have the nail in the coffin- miles 11.5 through 12.5 are pretty much completely uphill.  Just a slow, gradual climb.  Exactly like the end of the Dowd YMCA half marathon, which ate me alive in November, as it has eaten me alive every time I have run it.  Your tank is pretty much spent, you are getting excited because you only have about 2 miles to go, then you get this demoralizing subtle hill.  Fortunately, the last 1/2 mile or so is flat.  Joy.

Today I did an easy 4.5 mile jog/walk with SuperBaby, SuperDad, and the dogs.  This was to prepare me for tomorrow’s hill repeats at my second non-human nemesis: the Mile 8-8.5 hill.  The only way I am going to conquer my hatred/fear of those hills is to face them a couple of times before the race.  I will not be happy with myself if I don’t finish under 1:40, but I know that it is going to be an uphill battle.  Hahaha.