December 22, 2005

I am a mountain man

Today was a short, hard, hill workout.

I spent yesterday feeling the burn from my newfound mode of commuting, and traveling to St. Louis. After missing two flights due (more or less) to the transit strike, I finally got on a late flight towards St. Louis that connected in Atlanta. Twelve hours of travel for three actual flight hours, pitiful. Long story, short: the TWU has no idea what kind of ripple effects this strike is having. [One of the elements of me traveling by air is that I can check my suitcase, but must carry with me anything I can't afford to be without for a week, in case that suitcase gets lost. This means I had two carry-ons with me: my running bag filled with medicines and back-up nebulizer, and my Vest, which is about 25 or 30 pounds. The attendants required numerous and lengthy explanations about all of this and why I wouldn't let them be checked, even on the tarmac. They eventually understood, though. :) ]

Anyway, arrived at my sister's and was up pretty late, even had a beer last night. (For what it's worth: Bud Select ain't half bad. It ain't Guinness, but it ain't horse piss either.) In the course of things, I forgot my dosage of Levaquin and completely skipped therapy, which I'm paying for today.

Woke up after a long, deep sleep feeling rested and ready for a four- or five-miler. The soreness of the bicycling is gone and my legs aren't as tight as they were yesterday. However, I am massively dehydrated and am having to play catchup with medicines and therapies. My urine was very dark and my sputum - while coming up without too much effort - is plentiful and very thick. Well, I'll get back on the regular schedule and keep at it.

Heading out from my sister's house, I realized just how hilly the area is. She lives up on top of a hill (perhaps 200 yards), accessible only by a culd-de-sac. That cul-de-sac connects to a lane at the bottom of the hill. That junction is at the bottom of more hills, either way you turn. I chose to go to the right and managed to keep running all the way up to the top - probably a third mile or more. And while I've tackled long hills before of a mile in length - they were gentle or medium grades. My sister's neighborhood is built like San Francisco and the hills are STEEP. I remember having to really gun my motorcycle up the hills on my last visit - very rare.

Anyway, this kind of rapid elevation change is unique to me: I've only encountered such hills on a few short trails in Central and Prospect Park - they don't have this kind of distance to them. (If this is what my sister starts her runs on, she's going to positively laugh at the hills in the NY Marathon!) I chose to do hill repeats, rather than the five-miler; I won't get this opportunity often. I went up the hill at a hard, though not all-out, pace each time, concentrating on keeping a steady speed and not slowing. I jogged back down as slow as the hills would let me, experiencing some real pull for the first time. I can see why one needs to train for downhills as much as uphills!

So a 2x repeat and a half-hour of stretching and three large glasses of water later, I'm feeling pretty good. The Levaquin is kicking in finally and I won't be as dehydrated for the next run. I may try this again tomorrow or hold off and ask what my sister plans for the weekend - we may do the newly-rebuilt cinder loop in Forest Park.

A final note: I like the variety of this new terrain. I can manage seeing the same routes over and over again, but the change is certainly nice.

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