Loads of Hills and Hamstring Tape

This weekend was to be the last big long run in preparation for Pocatello. Ideally, Jason, Stephanie, and I were going to hit the trail together but it didn’t turn out that way.

The weather wasn’t exactly cooperating; rain came rolling in on Friday while I was driving to pick up my girl from school in Nacogdoches. There were two spots of driving 40mph on normally 70mph highway because I just couldn’t see. Flash flood watch or warning here in Austin. It just didn’t seem to be prudent to be sloshing around on the greenbelt this close to race date.

Stephanie came up with the great idea to do our run on the roads…just make it hilly. So she and I met to do two of the hilly Sunday night 10-mile loops. Jason needed to do other things and sent us off on our road jaunt with his blessings.

Monster Hill Run Route

It’s a tough route. You hit a goodly portion of Ladera Norte a couple of times, the hill parallel to Ladera once, Cat Mountain, and any other remotely ginormous hill you can find in that section of Northwest Austin.

I was pleased to have Stephanie as company (it’s a much slower pace for her, but it was nice that she chose to work miles and time on her feet rather than speed) and the first loop flew by. And honestly, I was happy to see that I’d done it in pretty much the same time as the last time I’d come out for the Sunday hill run (2:00). We refueled and hit the port-a-potty…and I have to wonder how it is that I can manage to find a way to fall walking around a barricade to get to a bathroom, but I did.  That break took about eight minutes.

The second loop was not hard but it wasn’t easy. We’d had some cooler, though humid, weather throughout the morning and were blessed with an overcast sky through the first loop but that didn’t last for the second. I had opted for  my handheld; in my fall, a fair amount of water squirted out as my hand came down on it.  I looked for a hose around the halfway point, desperately in need of more water to drink and to cool me off. After that, I felt much refreshed.

And somehow, we took a run turn and found ourselves running up Mt. Bonnell road, almost to 2222. I fully blame a brief political discussion for that oversight. We laughed a bit (we actually had another hilly wrong turn on the first loop, but it was not long), corrected, and finished up the run. I can honestly say that running up Ladera Norte again was NOT my favorite part of the run. Looking for water and walking more definitely added a lot to the time, though I think the wrong turn was a wash.

The second loop took 2:12. I’m happy with that, seeing as that’s my pace from the first time I ever did the Sunday hilly run. So clearly, I’m getting better.

It was such an easy pace for Stephanie and honestly, it felt slow to me (but that’s all I can do right now, so it didn’t bother me). We walked up quite a few of the biggest hills, which was great practice for me because I’ll be walking I’m sure as I head up the mountains at Pocatello. My hamstring did get quite achey towards the end but I didn’t feel like I was doing any new damage or really aggravating anything, more that it was just, “Leah, hello!  Things are still a little weak back here, I’m just saying.”

After we finished up, I drove over to my folks’ house (they live off of Hyridge, not far away at all) and stood up to my waist in the cold water of their pool. I think it helped quite a bit.

Sunday was a day of rest, family, and celebration — it was James’ birthday.  Lovely day.

Triathlon Coaching and More Hills

Today was the Tri Zones workout out at Decker Lake. I was a little worried because I’d just come off the long run and I’d been sore on Sunday, specifically the right hamstring and my lower back. I didn’t want to go out and hurt myself by stressing tired muscles riding up and down hills.

But it’s such a little ride…it turns out, I rode. I was sweeper which did allow me to ride easy in the back and flush the legs out. However, I found it a lot harder to ride up a hill at someone else’s pace.

The first short steep hill of Bloor had me up out of the saddle as I’d needed to slow to stay behind the group as we came to the hill. Working uphill on the bike has been hard on the hamstring, and I realized that I was going to need to ride my own pace on the others. So I did and found I had no real issues or aches as long as I was working at my speed.

Afterward, we did a little jaunt on the race course and I did feel stiff and tired there but surprisingly, I felt much better running up the hill than I did going down it. I came home feeling fabulous about my fitness and hopeful that I’ll be able to do Danskin without hurting myself the weekend after Pocatello. Of course, I’m going to make a final call AFTER I get back from Pocatello because I really don’t know what to expect from that race.

Here’s why I keep a log:  my easy ride pace today was as fast as my bike legs from my two Danskins, ‘way back when I was just starting out in triathlon in ’03 and ’04. That made me smile.

Following Up on the Hammie

I shot my doc an email last week about the general achiness in my hamstring after falling on the bike the other week, and he said it wouldn’t hurt to come in and get worked on. I was able to do that today. Ouch.

He worked the hammie and my lower back. Right now, I just feel drained and noodley. I’m sure I’m going to feel much better tomorrow. All in all, I am so pleased that so many things are on the upswing right now. And that includes my diet changes; I’m slowly and steadily seeing weight come off. Nothing flashy, not huge amounts, but it is all making a difference.

So, good run, good ride, nice tune up, and positive thoughts about my upcoming Pocatello adventure. Woohooo!

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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