We did it. We ran on a LONG ROAD up and down. We rarely run on road, mostly dirt trails. Last week was a break through long run for us on flat trail pavement of 15 miles but yesterday has a long climb. We trained hard and finally, yesterday was the day.
It was starting to get warm at the base of the climb and already, I was concerned of my abilities. We had discussed our pace plans of sticking around 13-14 min/mile uphill to stay around Z2 pace based on my pace fitness currently. It’s a good pace and a pace I call, “forever” pace where I can go all day long. We parked at on the dirt by the fire station and noticed a bucket with a sign. It says, “cold water.” I knew then that this run is going to be a warm one.
I felt ready.
We started out with a gradual uphill and so far so good. I looked at my watch and it said, “11:24″ average pace. In reviewing my Strava files, the pace is a bit faster than I anticipated but this run was also about practicing PE or perceived effort and pace effort so I decided to run up feeling the Z2 PE then see what happens. Mile 2, mile 3, mile 4 then mile 5 have gone by. I was still running an average of under 12 min/mi in a very relaxed effort. Earlier at mile 3, about half way I really anticipated that my body would slow down as we climbed higher in a more exposed road and much more steeper sections. The top is visible and my heart rate got a bit excited.
We got up to the intersection which I consider the top. I sat down on the little bench while Doug is refilling his water bottle from the free water provided by the residence. It could not believe that we made it and in the heat! I told Doug that we ran up in under 12 min/mi. It was better than we expected. Our fitness is really improving and progressing.
Now for the downhill.
Ugh. The heat was beginning to bother me somewhat. I have the tendency to overheat a bit more than Doug so after a couple of miles downhill, I made the decision to stop every mile to drink up and spray my legs and head with water to cool down. The last 3 miles were tough as the temp rose heading into the bottom canyon. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it and had thoughts that my legs would just fall apart because it felt rubbery from the heat not from the run. It was also the longest downhill we’ve ever done on road so I was being cautious not to break anything. The plan worked out great and we made it back but I was toasty. We got cold ice water from the bucket from the really nice people at the fire station. Mt Hamilton Road is notorious for being really hot in the summer specially the back side.
Doug was pretty stoked about running Mt Hamilton Road. It was one of the climbs we’ve done on the bike and now we’ve ran up with our two feet. We plan to come back in the winter or fall where it’s a bit cooler. It’s really a great training hill climb. The grade is about 6% average and very good surface. It’s like running on a treadmill uphill but not the downhill, though. I still need to work on my confidence to trust the body on the downhill. I am always cautious not to get injured on pavement.
We are proud of ourselves. A big deal because it took us about 2 years to work on the body’s durability to handle road or even trails. We don’t have a running background and just started trail running mostly about 2 years ago so we have to be extra cautious of not getting injured while training. It looks like our training plan is working out and is paying off. Every step of the way is slow progress and each small success is a big success to us. That’s how we roll.
Thanks for reading!