Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hill Workout

Down south we've been experiencing some fantastic weather this past weekend. After suffering through months of ridiculously hot and humid weather, these are the days we long for. Since I had the whole day off, I figured why not take a drive up to Clark Creek Natural Area and get off the track for the week. If you live in this part of Louisiana, Tunica falls is the place to go for major hills. The park was very crowded due to the holiday and great weather. Tunica is an amazing place, if you've never been you are really missing out. I was slightly jealous of all the hikers enjoying the amazing views, weather, creeks, and waterfalls; however, soon I would be joining them after I completed my task.

If you think a hill workout at Tunica is a way to get out of a tough track workout, you are dreadfully mistaken. The great Frank Shorter once said,"hills are speed work in disguise." These are the workouts that break you down into a mouth foaming, snot running into your beard, lung gasping, and shuffling practically walking crazy looking person, of course being half naked only wearing one inch inseam galaxy print shorts doesn't help either. However, these workouts also harden your will, strengthen your lungs, and turn the heart into a finely tuned machine. These are my bread and butter. The hill is one of the toughest yet most run-able hills there. The repeat distance is exactly 300 meters, measured with my magical unicycle as described by a young boy, who I tried to explain to that its used to measure things. Despite my best attempts, he still insisted it was a unicycle. The goal was to complete three miles of uphill as strong and quickly as possible. Quickly is a very relative term at Tunica. This hill starts off with a quick dip making for a fast start, followed by a very steep uphill section possibly pushing over a 40% grade. Then a relatively long but steady uphill section halfway through which turns very steep, then once over the top a small downhill makes for a fast finish. This downhill near the end teaches you to run up and over the hill hard. Many people want to run slow after a hill to allow for recovery, in a race this practice will not get you a win. Every repeat leads to oxygen debt and lactic acid build up earlier than the last. I knew I was in for trouble when I was struggling to complete number eight, only halfway through. Fortunately when you reach that point of exhaustion things get blurry. Lungs gasping, legs exhausted, heart about to explode, oh God I feel like I'm dying repeats. In the end, you survive, you get stronger, and strangely you're addicted, you find yourself coming back for more. The only problem with Tunica is that no matter where you run you can't escape the hills, they are there on your warm-up, your workout, and your cool-down. Finally during my cool down, I got to enjoy what everyone else was out there for; nothing beats watching the sinking sun soak the woods and hills in its golden rays as you enjoy some beautiful yet challenging trails. Tunica, I'll be back.

Last rays of the sun from the trail.

Halfway to the top.

No comments:

Post a Comment