Heat and Hills

This weekend could be summed up in one word. HOT! Holy cow, by Saturday the weather was into the 90’s!

Saturday was one of my favorite races of the year, the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k. I did this race as my first 5k ever back in 2010 and I love running it every year as a benchmark of how I have progressed. Just running the race itself if so energizing. It is a women’s only 5k, and this year  there were over 5,000 women registered. Being out running with this crowd: everyone from first-timers to Olympians is one of the best ways to kick off the start of the season.


This year’s race was HOT. H.O.T. By the time the race went off at 10 am, it had already reached 90 degrees. Add to that a course that is a bit challenging, and you have the recipe for a tough race. My goal this year was to beat last year’s time 29:01. The first mile begins with a steep uphill at the start for approximately 800m. After the first mile, the second mile winds through the park with some gentle rolling hills. The third mile is all downhill. My strategy was to make sure I negative split the race – something I am terrible at. Fortunately, the first hill forces me to start more conservatively and pick up the pace once I get to mile 2. This year, that was not part of the plan. By mile 2 I was heating up, and by mile 3 I was cooked. Coming out of the park into mile 3 was a long, flat section where the sun was directly overhead. At this point, my legs were cramped and just didn’t want to run any more. I ended up eeking out a time of 30:15 with splits of 10:14, 9:39, 9:46. Not quite the sub 29:00 or negative splits, but with the heat of the day I am ok with that time.

Sunday was a gorgeous loop from Schuylerville down around the Saratoga battlefield and back. We headed out at 8 trying to beat the heat and thunderstorms. The first 10 miles were nice and flat, with gorgeous scenery.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 9.16.04 AM

Everything is in bloom and it is a beautiful, rural countryside. About mile 10, we hit the hills. I will come right out and say it. I. HATE. HILLS. I hate them. I have never been a strong climber, and every time I hit a hill I feel trapped on the bike and my heart rate is through the roof. Yesterday, the hills didn’t seem so bad. I was starting to power through them with a lot more confidence. But I am still very slow in one area. The downhill. For some reason, I cannot get over my panic of falling and crashing on the bike. I still ride downhill on the breaks.

The rest of the ride was a series of rolling hills through the farmlands and back to town. On the way back to town Melissa talked me in to riding to the top of Bacon Hill – a hill that I despise. By the time I get to the top my legs are on fire. Oh and the ride down, twisting and turning with no shoulder. Yup, I was definitely riding the breaks the whole way down. I will have to ride this hill as the first few miles of next weekend’s Hudson Crossing triathlon, so it was good for me.

When I got home I looked at the elevation details and climbs for the ride. Interestingly, the hill at mile 10 and Bacon hill are very similar on the map, but Bacon is so much more challenging.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 9.49.15 AM

I hope everyone had a great training weekend!

How do you feel about climbing hills? 

How do you get faster on the downhill?

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