Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HItting the hills

I quickly realized that my lofty notion of running a 100 miler in February was very unrealistic; I had neither the time nor the physical activity level to make that happen.  Instead, I offered to pace someone during the race and have worked on ramping up my mileage and endurance.  I have been doing my usual runs with baby hills but making more them go into Bommer Canyon, which adds some climbing.  I have also been working on back-to-back double digit runs so that I am accustomed to running on tired legs.  Last week my body screamed for rest and I obliged; Sunday I cut my planned run in half and cruised through Shady and Bommer Canyons.

Sunday - "rest day"
Monday I decided to take advantage of being off work and set out for a minimum of 16 miles; one big goal was to run through Bommer Canyon to Turtle Ridge, a newly opened trail.  Before Monday, I had ventured up the single track switchbacks of Turtle Ridge until I hit my turnaround mileage (about the time my legs and lungs said no more) but never saw where the trail ends.  For some insane reason, I decided to make my longest run in ages the toughest; the climb up Turtle Ridge felt never ending but the views were worth the climb and the ensuing return climb and long downhill back into Bommer.  I tacked on some mileage by seeing where West Fork links Bommer Canyon to Laguna Wilderness Park and El Moro Canyon.  

My legs were shot so I was happy to run home.  The back-to-back runs made me feel so strong and happy; I am pushing myself running up hills more than I have in years and it feels awesome.  I am not accustomed to running up hills as I used to power hike them; unfortunately, my right calf gets super knotted and painful and the run made that issue return.  I believe I run uphill on my toes so I need to learn how best to run uphills; any advice?!


  1. First, awesome that you are pacing. It is such a WONDERFUL experience.

    Second, I do not run uphill on my toes anymore. I mid-foot strike, lean into the hill (from my ankles, not my hills). Also, if the hill is so steep, and I MUST run it and I can't do a mid-foot strike, I run it sideways. A couple more tricks I use. Head up, not down, shoulders up, but relaxed and lastly, arms swing forward (only on uphills) and make a movement like I'm punching my chin. Maybe some of this will work for you.

    Good luck!

  2. Nothing better than pacing someone in a 100 miler if you can't run yourself. If the hills are steep I also run on my toes. Not sure if I can do it another way.