Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Beast

This morning our training group met in Portland for a run through the Northwest & Northwest Forest Park Districts. My goals for the morning were -

  • Run 3 miles
  • Take the hill going into Forest Park. 
  • Stay dry (though rain threatened).
  • Make it back alive.

First, I was a bit worried when I heard a coach telling a runner that this hill was "A BEAST".

He was right and I was obviously not prepared for this run! It took me 44 minutes and 5 seconds from start to finish to complete these 3 challenging miles. Not pretty at ALL. I was disappointed in myself while going up but I didn't give up.

I was doing fairly okay, my knee was feeling okay, and I was running with my pace group up until about .85 mile mark when I switched to a race walk to bring my heart rate down and still I stayed with them. Yes, it was that steep at that point, that a race walk kept stride with the runners in my pace group.  After just a short period of this, I picked up my feet and ran some more.

By this time I was pretty warm and had wrapped my wind/rain breaker around my waist. I felt one or two of drops of rain hit me, but it didn't cause me any alarm. Then BOOM! The clouds opened up and began drenching us. I frantically untied my jacket and put it back on but the damages were done. My back was soaked. The rain continued. Then my jacket was soaked. My pants were soaked. I felt 'chaffing' for my very first time. The rain literally poured off my visor in a veil. It was that heavy! My husband was parked at the base of the hill and said it opened up and poured for "a good ten minutes".  I asked him if he was laughing. He hated to admit it but said, "Yeah. A little."

At about the 1.3 mile mark I told my pace leader I needed to slow down. My heart rate was maxing and I just wanted to slow it down a little. I am the ONLY 5K runner in her pace group so I asked where my turn around will be. She said, "The gate" and that she will wait for me. I went to a regular walk and took quite a few deep cleansing breathes until my heart rate reduced again. Then off I went, slogging upwards at an ungodly incline. I was never more than the length of two house lots away from my group and  they were always in my sight. They all stopped to drink from the fountain there at the gate. I got in line behind them. That fountain needs some maintenance. It was really hard to get any into my mouth without dipping my chin in a puddle of rain water in it's basin. ;)

At this point the rain wasn't as heavy, but it was still falling fairly thickly and then as I headed back down, ended suddenly.

Let's talk about running down 1.5 miles of a hill. I loved this part, yet it was challenging in it's own way too. I tried to keep my hips under me, and to minimize impact because it was on this part that my knee woke up and said, "HI!! REMEMBER ME?? I'M BAAAAACK!"

I did a light slogging jog all the way back without break. Max HR for this half was considerably less than going up but my legs felt worn out. Quads felt thrashed. Glutes felt burned. Knee was reminding me it was there. But it was nice being able to enjoy the run back and sight see and wave to others going up or down.

So out of my goals, I didn't run non-stop; I did take the hill, I didn't stay dry, and I did make it back alive.

Two out of four isn't bad. Next time, maybe I can get three out of four.

And oh yeah - I WILL take that hill someday. I WILL! I WILL!!!! It won the battle today, but I will win the war! Here is The Beast in graph form. 384 feet of incline.

Time: 44 minutes 5 seconds

Pace: 14.41 minute mile


  1. It is 10:50 pm. All I can say is - I want to do it again. I looked on the schedule and the next time we take this hill is March 17th, but that is the day before the Shamrock Run. DARN!!! I am going to talk to coach and see if I can go off on my own on March 3rd instead of taking the flatter run he has planned for that day.

  2. Update the next day - OOOOOWW!!! My glutes hurt. LOL!! Love that pain though. RAWR!!!