Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Conquered the hill!

I've run the City2Surf course three times now - twice as part of the offical race from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach the past two years, and once unofficially. My first City2Surf in 2011 was a few months after my knee surgery, and while I had been progressing well in learning to run again (running pre-surgery was a non event due to knee pain) I also had a bit of a niggle develop a month or two before the run, so I couldn't really train for it. My second City2Surf was last year, and occurred during a period when I found running boring. I only ran once a fortnight, which was enough to get a PB on the course (as I wasn't in pain), but wasn't actually a proper run.

On both official occasions I ran from the start to the bottom of Heartbreak Hill, and then would jog/walk (mostly walk) it. While I would then run the flat sections and take it easy downhill (especially with a sore knee in 2011), I didn't really have the fitness to get over the small climbs between the end of Heartbreak Hill and the end of the run.

Sunday was a completely different story. I may only be running a couple of times a week (I have taken up stair-running on Thursday mornings, and continue the Sunday long runs), but it was enough to run the entire length of the course. While I would wait for the others at the top of climbs, I never felt like I needed to stop running. I'm sure part of this is due to running at the group's pace, but as we approached Heartbreak Hill, I suggested that we each tackle it at our own pace and meet at the top. We agreed that was a good idea, and I took the next few minutes making sure that my breathing was under control and in a good rhythm before the hill started.

Once it came up, I was fine - I just plodded along at my pace. I knew I was fitter than I had ever been on this course, but I definitely felt the difference as I got through the first section of the hill. In previous attempts I've either walked this section (2011) or run up to this section and be forced to walk most of the rest (2012). On Sunday I just felt, well, fine. More plodding at the same pace and another section down. By the time I got to the top I still felt fine! Completely ran up it without stopping! The other girls weren't too far behind, and after a few minutes we were off again.

We might have had another few pauses and re-groups at the top of smaller climbs, but I still got to Bondi Beach at an average pace of sub-6 min. I shouldn't be surprised given I ran the half a little slower than 5:30 pace, but it was a welcome change to the City2Surf runs from the past two years. The weather was a lot nicer too - I even went for a walk in the water at Bondi Beach. The temperature actually felt fine, although I was probably warm from having run from the city!

If I was into ice baths and closer to home, I might have gone for a swim!

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