Today the above Iron Maiden song was ringing through my ears.
Oh Yeah. It was all about heat training and hills. For Vermont for me. For Badwater for the other two.
Earlier this week I had been emailing Pierre Ostor. You know, uber ultra endurance athlete of biking and running fame, finished Badwater, finished the Grand Slam, is the director for Arrowhead 135 and finished that as well. Yeah, Pierre. Well, come to find out he and Paul Hasse. Oh, you now, another uber ultra endurance athlete. Finished Leadville, Badwater (in 35 hours no less) and oh yeah, won FANS two weeks ago with 131 miles. Well, now that their credentials are out of the way, Pierre and Paul were running hill repeats at Buck Hill in Burnsville today. Pierre is running Badwater..135 miles through Death Valley and Paul is pacing/crewing for him. Buck Hill is a ski hill area in Burnsville.
I joined in on the fun. Of course, as they are training for heat and mountains, they asked me to arrive at 12:00, for a couple of hours running in the hottest part of the day. I did just that.
I must say, I was afraid. I was afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone. Afraid of running with these two. I remember when I first these men, each of them a few years ago. They are extreme athletes. They are tough. They are fast. They are experienced.
They welcomed me, so I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway. Step out of my comfort zone. You know.
Before I met them I told Steve about it. I told Steve I wasn't so sure about this. He looked at me quizzically; I thought wow, this is where he is going to tell me enough is enough. I couldn't read the look on his face. I was wrong. This is where he told me 'come on, this is what you wanted, someone to train on hills with, why wouldn't you go, at least once a week you tell me you wish you had someone to train with' Well, being afraid of them didn't seem like a very good response.
1130 sharp..a bit early..I was in the lot awaiting Pierre and Paul's arrival. I had a container of Heed, a few gallons of water, a few gels. I forgot E Caps, I had ice. I walked to the ski area and looked straight up. Good lord almighty. It was already 85F and the hills looked scary.
1145 and they pulled into the lot. They gave me a welcome and a description of what we were going to do. A 2.5 mile warm up around Burnsville, 5 hill repeats, another 2.5 mile run and 5 more hills. I was nervous. I filled my bottle and off we went.
It was hot. We ran the 2.5, came back to the lot and carried our supplies to the base of the hill.
OK, this is it. Pierre went off like a shot, up up he went. Paul showed me that he runs to the first pole, then walks up the hill. Well, how difficult can walking up a hill be? You know? I fell into step behind Paul and after a short while was totally sucking wind. I mean, I was panting. I was out of air. I was in agony. I had doubts about finishing 5 and there was NO WAY I was finishing 10. Hello, wtf had I been thinking? We reached the top, Pierre was already 1/2 way down, we turned around and ran down the hill. Running down was easier for me than climbing up. We reached the bottom and I was drained. Totally spent, or so I thought.
1/2 way up the second hill repeat Paul asked if I was breathing hard. It was difficult for him to hear me breathing as 35W, a major freeway is below us. Yeah, I'm sucking air and I'll be damn lucky to get 5 repeats, I told him. He said I should slow down then, no rush, just get in the repeats. We checked our pace. I told him to go ahead, he didn't have to stick with me. He was fine sticking with me, he stated. OK, up and out.
Man! After 5 I was like, ok, I don't know about another. We got down to the bottom of the hill and Pierre is already across the lot on going out on his 2.5 mile run. Shit. I'm hot and slow. I fill up my bottle with ice and water, Heed was tasting bad to me, water was all I wanted and I couldn't get enough. Paul and I took off. OH MY GOD. My legs were tight and screaming. My calves were going to pop out of their skin. My quads were sore. It sucked! I hated this 2.5 mile run before and in the middle and oh man, are we going to do this at the end too? We'll, I'm probably done, because my legs are dead and this 2.5 mile sucks. Eventually we catch Pierre and run back to the lot. 2.5 miles later and it seemed like 5. For real.
I tell Paul that I will try another, but I don't know. Now that we are done with the run I'm feeling a bit more positive. We reach number 6. I tell Paul I can do another. I ask him about 2.5 again at the finish. Are we doing 2.5 at the finish? He says NO. Oh, wow, I'm thrilled. I can do 10 then, I can, I can!
Repeat number 10. I'm all smiles. One more to go. I'll be finished in time to catch Tyler's two baseball games in Big Lake. Game one begins at 330. I don't have time for a shower, but I'll make it.
I did it. I did 10 hill repeats with the big dogs. If I want to run like a big dog, I gotta run with the big dogs. Yeah.
This is now a key workout for me. I'll be there each week. Running with the big dogs. Paul guarantees that as I get to 25-30 repeats, I'll be finishing Superior 100.
Run For The Hills...Run For Your Life..