Adding to the Tips & Tricks File

Posted: 08/23/2012 in Uncategorized

Last night I joined the running group for workout #2 of the day – a 5 mile run with a focus on intervals that looked more like a hill route to me.

We do a lot of routes from this starting point, except normally we veer off any one of a few dozen streets to the right and this time we veered off to the left. Overall the run went REALLY well for me. I picked a good person to pace off of for a slow warmup and took over lead when she got sick of me being behind her. Then I realized that I’d passed her and if we were traveling at about the same rate, there was no reason she should pass me. It was a subtle thing, but it was there. You see, normally, I tend to focus on a runner somewhere in front of me – and in fact, had been doing some of that on this route too. But once I shifted my focus into not letting her pass me again, my legs somehow found some new speed to create distance between her and I, and then hold that pace. If she wanted to pass me, she was going to have to work for it. Hmmm…I passed two more people using that same idea and kept them behind me until we hit the meet-up for the intervals. It came to mind that I’ve used this ‘not gonna pass me back’ frame a couple of times recently in training runs & at the Downtown Dash 5k and it seems to work for me pretty well.

At intervals, I did my own thing.  Then I used the same strategy on the way back. I ended up running in front of another woman who I run in pack with regularly – and for awhile it was just the two of us. I kept my focus on staying in front and slowly increasing the distance. Particularly on the uphill climb just before 4.03 in the chart above, I put a good distance between us. At least until I saw a suspicious person coming my way with a golf club (not a good neighborhood), which was about the time I glanced behind me and went ‘shit! where’d she go?!’. Oh, that’s right, I outran her. Oops. Nevermind, tra la la. Oh, that’s right – I do some boxing stuff. I can handle this. Or I can just smile nicely and keep on with the running. Apparently that was golf-club-man’s strategy too. Because no matter how scary and suspicious I looked, he just smiled at me and kept on walking. 

Then I turned a corner and went into the last two climbs before the final downhill in. Frankly, I had ROCKED the hills up to this point and fought my way through the first of the two climbs – but that last climb. Grrrrrrr. I’m going to tell you – THAT CLIMB – kicks my butt every. single. time. I circled where it was on the overall route above. Here’s a closer look at that final hill – which we hit from one side going out and I do fine on it, then it’s the last hill coming back and it kills me.


Well, it kicks my butt ALMOST every single time. Last night – I fought that bitch and won. This was another interesting thing about last night’s run – because we normally head out to the right off of that street, I’m always on the same side of the street coming back into that climb. There’s not much at the top on that side of the street, a gray wall going into a curve with traffic feeling a little too close to you even though you’re on a sidewalk. Last night we veered off to the left, so when I came back, I was on the other side of the street. On that side there are trees and a couple buildings that are a little interesting. There are better focal points at the top! There’s also more shade & some parked cars between you and the traffic lane, so you’re a little more protected. On that side of the street, that run felt so much better! It’s not that it wasn’t hard on that side, but it was easier to talk myself through – to be inspired to get to the top rather than staring at a nondescript gray concrete wall.

By this time, some of the faster people (who did more interval loops than we did) were catching up to me. So I celebrated hitting the top of that hill by pacing out that last little bit of the run with a girl that was WAY faster than me – I’ll tell you what – when I hit the top of that hill, I was freakin’ invincible for that last .1 mile. In fact, had I not been boxed in, I was seriously plotting to pass faster-girl. WHEEEE!

So, I added two things to my tips & tricks file on last night’s run – which is SUPER NICE – since you can lots and lots of runs without adding a thing to that file. (1) Reverse focus. Though shall not pass!


And (2) if part of a run has you totally blocked, try running on the other side of the street (assuming there’s a sidewalk for safety’s sake). You might notice something over there that will help pull you through.

Oh, and there’s probably a (3) in all this too – smile at the nice man holding the golf club for no apparent reason, but don’t be shy about picking up the pace when you do.


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