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.