Today was my second Tuesday hill session with my friends at Shawnee Mission Park. The idea is that we kick our own a**es by running Ogg Rd a few times to improve our hill running skills. Out here in Kansas, it might just seem like something that will improve your overall running, but when you go out to Colorado and realize the "hills" don't go back down you realize how important this skill is. Now if I had to guess, I would say Ogg Rd is about 3/8-0.5mi long, and it's up hill all the way. The last portion of the hill is especially steep and has reduced me to a walk 100% of my 5 or so past attempts.
Today my goal was to run the whole thing at least once. Conquer the beast! Last time I went out my stomach was very uneasy and I never could manage it. I blame an oversized lunch complete with potato salad for my tummy trouble that day. Today, at least my stomach felt fine. On my first ascent, I discovered that in the absence of queasiness, my main problem was not my legs but my lungs! I kept up with the gang 'til about half way up the road when I noticed my chest screaming, "slow the f down!!!!" I slowed down, but I still managed to run all the way up! Mission accomplished.
Now I didn't really hammer down the goal I set for myself. I was determined to make it up that hill running the whole way, but I never said to myself, "Laurie, from now on, you are going to run that hill the whole way, EVERY time." With that in mind, and with my still-burning lungs in mind, I decided to walk the top of the second hill. By the end of the second hill, I had resigned to head home. Not only does running long hills hurt, it makes me crabby too! As I was slogging up the second hill, Julie (who had arrived late) was on her way down and decided to cut her hill short and walk up the top with me. Even at a walk, she was seriously kicking my butt. Before I knew it, she was 20 ft ahead of me! I was feeling useless and weak.
When I reached the top, discussion had begun about whether to run another Ogg hill or to run "Caleb's Secret Workout". I had planned on wimping out of another Ogg Rd but felt I should try something new if I had the chance. It turns out most of us had run this before, although it had been a long time and we didn't quite remember the quirks. When we started out, we scoffed at the ease of the course. This hill is nothing, we claimed! So we went to the top of the hill, thinking the next hill would be more vicious. We ran 4 or 5 hills until we finally spotted a formidable mass in front of us. I had been hauling myself pretty easily up the previous hills, sprinting even. My lungs had calmed down and these hills were child's play compared to Ogg! The final hill put my sprint to a halt about 3/4 of the way up and I didn't mind. I finally felt like I got a decent run in.
On our way back we realized that the course was actually not so short. And for that matter, it was not so easy if you kept a good pace. I decided I liked this workout. About 10 hills including out and back, all of which you can run, with one challenger. I liked feeling like I was getting something done, and I liked not feeling useless and weak! It also occurred to me that part of my problem with Ogg Rd has been that I haven't been warming up at all before I go for it. Next week, I'm gonna try a short run on the mountain bike trails to loosen up my legs and lungs before I go tearing up another half-mile hill. I'm also looking forward to augmenting those Oggs with some of Caleb's secret workout!