One of the workouts my BFF/Coach is making me do every week is “hill” repeats. I use quotes because honestly, it’s barely a hill. But, it’s the best I can do from my front door. It is at least an incline.

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This was my third time doing this workout. I’ve been running the same “hill”, 4x or 5x for each workout. The first time I did this workout, I was supposed to run fast but not an all out sprint. My fastest trip up the hill was 1:16.4. Last week, I was supposed to sprint. My trips up the hill were 1:14.2, 1:14.7, 1:09.4, 1:06.5 and 1:01.2.

This week, I was supposed to sprint up the hill again. “SPRINT HARD” were the exact directions. And, given last week’s 1:01.2 best, I had one goal. Do it in under a minute.

I also realized that I was only supposed to sprint up the hill 4 times. While I was out there last week, I forgot if it was 4 or 5, so I did 5. This week, I was supposed to just repeat last week’s workout, so I was supposed to do 4. And that was my plan.

But my first four trips up the hill were 1:03.4, 1:02.4, 1:02.2 and 1:00.4.

ARGH. Garmin gives splits in even seconds, so it told me 1:00. SO CLOSE.

I trotted back down the hill thinking that’s still something to be proud of. I can always try again next week. And hey, it’s cold! 23 degrees. (#SpringYoureDoingItWrong … come on guys, let’s get that trending.) I’ve heard that temps below freezing can negatively affect* your pace. Even if it’s the tiniest effect*, I’m the tiniest bit over my goal.

But … that wasn’t enough. I had a goal. I hadn’t met that goal.

So I decided to take one more trip up the hill. And I was going to give it all I had that time. Even though I thought I did that on the last sprint.

I told myself I would show this hill who’s boss. (What does that even mean?) I kept repeating “f-you hill.” (But you know … with the whole word … clearly, this hill and I have a personal relationship.) I dug deep. I started using a visualization that I probably haven’t used in years – soccer. When I play soccer, I’m a defender. Meaning, I have to beat fast little forwards to get to the ball. Lots of sprinting. So, I would visualize that I’m in a game, and I need to beat my opponent to the ball. And she’s a forward, so of course she’s fast and she’s sprinting. So I sprint harder.

And it worked. 56 seconds.

It’s silly really. I’m not in a race. There is no one else around. This is just one workout, of many. But, you know, my mom always taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well. And it’s really hard for me to set a goal and not achieve it. I’m competitive. With myself. (Additional thoughts on that topic may come in a future post.) So I felt pretty triumphant as I trotted back down the hill.

However, I got home and I looked at my splits:

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Apparently I cheated the 2nd and 3rd sprints … but more importantly, average pace for that last sprint = 6 minutes even.

So you can guess what next week’s time’s** hill repeats goal will be.

That would be a sub-6 pace, in case it wasn’t obvious. I don’t think I’ve ever had a split at a sub-6 pace. Granted, it’s a short distance, but I do not care.

What do you do when you need to dig deep and push yourself? 


* Not gonna lie, I had to consult Grammar Girl on affect vs. effect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that post and I still have to look it up. So if I’m still using them wrong, someone (Dad) correct me. (My dad has worked as a copy editor since practically the dawn of time.)

** Of course, I checked, and I’m not doing hill repeats next week.