Thursday, March 18, 2010

Runnin' hills with the Team In Green

Some people like to eat a lot of cabbage and drink a lot of beer on St. Patrick's Day. That's fine for them (although I would highly recommend those people take some Beano), but runners desire more from such a festive holiday. And what could be more festively and authentically Irish than running hill repeats, dressed in green, with your friends? After all, isn't Ireland rife with rolling hills? And isn't Ireland green? And aren't the Irish friendly?

While we would have loved to do our hill repeats on the rolling hills of Ireland (see picture above), it just wasn't practical. So we chose the next best place... Peoria Heights. Incidentally, the name "Peoria Heights" comes from the Gaelic for "freaking hilly". True story.

So we warmed up with a 2 mile jog down Grandview Drive. As you may recall, jogging down Grandview is literally jogging down Grandview, as it's a net downhill of probably about 200 feet. (And remember, what runs down must eventually run up - oh joy!) We made our way to Grandview Avenue. Yes, I realize this is confusing. Grandview Ave is a side-street off of Grandview Drive. Unlike Grandview Drive, Grandview Ave does not really have much of a grand view. But Grandview Ave does have some killer hills on a low-traffic cul-de-sac that are great for running hill repeats. It's about 1/4 mile long (shorter if you encounter the dog - more on that in a minute), and if you run out and back, you get 3 distinct, steep hills. We ran out and back TWICE, for a total of 6 steep hills.

The end of the cul-de-sac on Grandview Ave has a guard dog. It is not the kind of dog I would pick up and carry to his owners. He is a larger, scarier-looking, barking, not-on-a-leash dog. To be fair, he's never chased anyone or attacked anyone (he was also there last summer when we ran this street with FAST). But you can just never be sure if/when a big dog is going to turn on you. So, when we got close to the end of the cul-de-sac on our hill repeat runs, and the doggie trotted out into the street to bark at us, we tended to turn around and start running back a little sooner than planned.

After running our hill repeats, we then had the arduous task of running up Grandview Dr. As if running hill repeats wasn't enough! Not wanting to waste another perfectly good hill (even if it was 2 miles long), I tried to keep a decent pace all the way up, aiming to run my last mile faster than my first. And I did! Run graph is below (you can see the hill repeats in the middle, where my heart rate spikes and dips):

Now, you can't do a St. Patrick's Day run dressed in green without following up with some authentic Irish cuisine. So that's what we did. We headed over to Cyd's (our favorite place for post-long-run refueling) to enjoy some corned beef and cabbage and Guiness. I skipped the corned beef and cabbage, being a vegetarian and all, but I did have cabbage in the form of cole slaw (along with some decidedly un-Irish sweet potato curry, and lentil vegetable salad) and a Guiness.

Oh, and in case you were wondering who "we" are... here's a picture of us right after our hilly run (Niki, Matt, me and Kristi). I'm the short one. Although it's not so much that I'm short as the others are giants. True story.

Peace. Love. Train.

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