Hill sprints. Two little words, a whole different way of running for me.
Let me describe my running journey to you. I’ve had this image of me (in my head) running strongly on a beach for as long as I can remember. Not just a strong image, I’m strong, the running is easy. As I grew up swimming, running is hard, hard work for my body. It doesn’t feel natural as being in water for me is my natural habitat, but I can’t bear swimming training now. Too much plodding up and down in my youth makes now getting into a pool even more hard work. I get in and faff about. As much as I love the water on my skin, love playing with my son in the pool, I hate swimming. Woe is me.
Love going to the gym, hate the men posing around grunting, hogging all the equipment. Woe is me.
I read Alexandra Heminsley Running Like A Girl and was inspired, but due to the hills around where we live, (helpfully our house is on top of one, no matter what loop I do, I run uphill to home) But to get me started I found the C25K treadmill edition online and off I went early last year. And guess what, I wouldn’t say I loved running, but I loved how it made me feel when I stopped. I loved I could wear what I wanted from my wardrobe, I loved being able to listen to podcasts in peace and quiet and I loved having an excuse to catch up regularly with my running buddy on runs in Melbourne.
Then I got broken when I fell down the stairs. Then coming back from that injury, I got broken again at a boxing class when I was trying to improve my general level of fitness (got persuaded to go by a work colleague, singularly the stupidest decision I made last year). Then I got broken again when an unfound Baker’s Cyst popped behind my knee.
Woe is me.
This year I’m taking it slowly, I’ve been back exercising for a couple of weeks and am feeling great. As I said last week we did head to The Tan to train. The alarm went off at 6am so I could get outside some breakfast and drive in, park and mosey along to our meeting point. I’d got everything ready the night before, I’m a professional organiser, this is what I do, so I rolled out of bed, got dressed, ate and drove in. We had some banter, but then the trainer arrived (let’s call him Rocky) and we got serious. We had to run up a flight of stairs, round a corner and sprint to a specific tree, then walk back down.
After completing the first two, we had a bit of a debrief, I explained that after going up the steps, I had nothing left to sprint on the level. Literally nothing. Rocky amended the program for me, I had to run up the steps to the first light pole (post), turn around and walk down. I did more reps than the others, my rest time was also amended, but I beasted myself. My gait was analysed, I have nothing in my glutes, even running up a hill where my butt should be doing most of the work my thighs felt sore. I’ve been given clams to do, three times a day for the next three weeks. Nothing like lying by your desk at lunchtime to raise a few eyebrows.
Mid-way through the training session, Rocky let slip he coached Melbourne Storm. Oh. Then he had a brainwave, to finish off our session we did frog jumps up the hill. Aside from laughing like drains, we wondered what the people driving past would think as we wobbled and hopped our way up the hill. My legs were not working, I didn’t realise how much stamina and strength I didn’t have until Sunday. I’d crouch and not be able to jump up, I’d lean over and not be able to jump. Eventually I made it, but remember when I said I’d been feeling great? I didn’t feel great doing that training session, but I did when I finished.
The breakfast afterwards was also worth it, a Virgin Mary and poached eggs, bacon, spinach and slow roasted tomatoes on gluten free toast with butter. Yum.
Was it a good idea? Definitely. Will I be doing it again? Yes. My next challenge is to run 2km flat out to see what and where I’m at. The only problem? Aside from the strict instructions on clams, I am not allowed on a treadmill. Looks like I’m going to be doing hills permanently.