I knew it was inevitable. I knew it had to happen again sometime. All good things must come to end and you have to face your demons. Today marked my return to the Wilke Hill with Gazelles. I normally work out with the Mon/Wed morning crew, but since I ran the Half on Sunday, I decided to join the Tuesday morning workout. Ok-Let’s face it. Thon sent an email challenging all of us to do it. How could I say no? Plus, I’ve also been contemplating a change to Tues/Thurs anyways. Part of it is just to have a routine “shake up,” to meet new people, to be challenged by new people, to better fit my cross training schedule. I’m not sure exactly what will happen yet, but it was a good change of scenery.
I decided to run from my house to Wilke thinking it would be a good 2.5 mile warmup. That’s about the distance that it is from Runtex. Well hells bells…turns out that the warm-up run took me about 36 minutes (almost 4 miles!) Thank Goodness I left my house at the crack of 5:30am to get there on time! It was eerily peaceful on the roads and trails this morning. I suspect a lot of the vampire runners did the marathon on Sunday and are now resting peacefully this week instead of running 1 ½ hours before the sun even rises. I didn’t even come across another runner until I had reached the trail and had crossed over Mopac--over 1 mile into it. I’m guessing that as the crow flies, the Wilke Hill is no more than two miles from where I live. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut by foot. You basically have to run over the river and through the woods to get there. And then, you have to run through the neighborhood a while until you actually get to the hill.
In any event, I was definitely warmed up upon arrival just in time to see the Gazelles finishing up their warm-up drills. I joined for a little high knee action and backwards running. It was a pretty large group of people…many new faces and many faces that I only see at races (when they finish before me). However, I didn’t see any sign of Thon, Amy or Mike. Did they bail after I ran over 3.5 miles to get here???
After drills, Coach dished out various repeat numbers to people who were training for specific upcoming races. The maximum amount he has people do is ten. Because I’m just getting back into the swing and I’m not training for anything specific, I set a goal of doing 5 today. The first couple literally take your breath away. As you jog up the hill during the first half you’re thinking, “This isn’t so bad.” And then the Road turns upright and suddenly you feel parallel to the road. The second half is a bitch. I noticed that he’s also moved the spot where we stop farther away so you’re not actually done until you get to the end of the road. I actually like doing these repeats in the dark so you don’t have to look it in the eye. As I was coming back down the hill after #2, I saw the familiar postures of Amy and Thon. They did show up after all (Running Hubby Mike, however, remains a slacker J) Amy and I started up for my third and her first. I immediately fell behind her. I took the hill how I always seem to take it…slow. After the first couple, you’re heart is pumping and the blood is flowing so it does feel a little easier. It’s the legs that start to hurt on me. My quads and glutes were reminding me that it’s time to get back to work. I finished my 5th repeat and started down the hill with Amy again. Of course, I said I would do one more with her.
After finishing 6 forward repeats, we had to do three backwards (which becomes more like crawling backwards when you get to the steep parts) and then 3 sprints from about 2/3 up. Overall, I felt very pleased with myself after this workout. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to do five repeats after so much time away from this beast. I probably could’ve done 7-8 repeats, but definitely not 10 yet, which is where I was peaking last Spring before Boston. I’ll definitely get there again when I need to. No need to rush back in to it.
A couple of peeps had to leave early to get kids off to school, so I sauntered back home for another quiet 36 minute cool-down back home.
Today’s total mileage was about 9.5 miles overall. I don’t know if I’ll start from home the next time, but it actually ended up being quite peaceful.